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Texas Education



I didn’t really mean this to be “pick on Texas” day, but don’t blame me, blame Texas.

Remember those nice Texas history standards from a few years back that decided that slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War” and mandated that McCarthyism be portrayed in a positive light?

Well, one of the former state Board of Education members who pushed through these standards is now contributing to what seems to be the only acceptable book on Mexican-Americans on the state level, although the state did allow school districts to choose their own books. It naturally enough claims that the Chicano movement “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” Here’s some more nice things about it:

The former BOE member:

Cynthia Dunbar was a member of the SBOE from 2007 to 2010, in the thick of the debate over social studies standards that cemented the board’s stoogish reputation and steeped yet another generation of Texas schoolchildren in a retrograde sense of history. “No one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses,” she said in 2010, during her opening prayer for a board meeting. Dunbar’s appointee to a panel of expert reviewers recommended removing Cesar Chavez from the standards altogether.

So, it’s fair to say that Dunbar’s time on the board did not reflect a great interest in Mexican-American history. She did have some notable publishing experience on the board, though. Her 2008 volume One Nation Under God — which was released while she was on the State Board of Education — called public schooling a “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” The book’s back cover bears a call to action: “America needs people who know the truth, speak the truth and stand for the truth. Unfortunately, many of us are simply not aware of the clear constitutional and biblical principles that initiated and governed the course of this union.”

And the content:

What’s most notable about the text, on first glance, is how little attention is given to the history of Mexican-American people, and how much is rote retelling of the separate histories of the United States and Mexico. In a 500-page book, only the last few chapters confront civil and labor rights issues. Most is subject matter you’d expect in any U.S. history book — the Declaration of Independence, the Kennedy assassination, the Cold War.

“Every year, Mexican-American festivals feature mariachi bands and traditional Spanish dancing,” one passage reads, before going on to mention the not-quite-so-Mexican salsa, tango and rumba. “Latino celebrities in general are considered to be full of talent, drama, and appeal,” it reads. A passage on “Latin Literature” features the beloved Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez — who at least lived in Mexico — along with the Chilean-American Isabel Allende and the Brazilian Pablo Coelho, who wrote in Portuguese.

Really, they’re all the same, amiright?

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  • Funkhauser

    Is Pablo Coelho [sic] in the original? I heard he wrote his books living in Sao Paolo.

    • #texas

    • Funkhauser

      Holy sh-t, it is!

      Page 475 of 512:

      Inside American academics, more understanding of Latino art and history has beenencouraged by the promotion of Latin American authors. Standard high school curricula have been diversified to include names such as Pablo Coelho, Isabel Allende, and Gabriel
      García Marquéz—all of whom have won international
      awards for their work. Many Latin authors do not live in
      the United States, but inform both majority and minority
      communities in the U.S. through their writings about what
      Latin Americans have been through. Many do so in artistic
      ways that bring to life the cultural drama of the centuries,
      especially the tensions between Western and non-Western
      values. Marquéz, for example, who lived in Colombia and
      Mexico, became famous for novels about Simon Bolívar,
      pro-Castro philosophy, and drug-related kidnappings. Others
      have contributed anecdotes, poems, and testimonials
      about daily life, immigration, persecution, and discrimination,
      all of which increase the diversity of the Western

      [sic, including missing period at end]

      I missed Gabo’s novels that featured pro-Castro philosophy. I gotta read those. Maybe it was Castro’s early years in Macondo before he sailed back on the Granma.

      • AMK

        We really need to take back “Western” (Western Civilization, Western Tradition, Western Values etc) as a buzzword in political discourse. Reason, Enlightenment, Rule of Law, Science, Equal Citizenship, etc..these are the hallmarks of “Western” civilization if that term is going to mean anything, and we pretty much have a monopoly on those at this point. The ethno-theocratic authoritarianism that animates the right is about the most anti “Western” major political movement to be found west of the Russian border.

        • so-in-so

          And ‘Like” buttons. Western Civ definitely deserves a like button. As does you comment!

          • liberalrob

            You just have to understand what Real Americans believe “Western” means. When you ask them who the greatest writers on the subject of Western Civilization are they’ll tell you Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey.

            Any discussion of how the “Western” in “Western Civilization” means European vs. (“Eastern”) Asian gets you an automatic “F” on your pop quiz.

      • SamChevre

        Wait–Brazil isn’t part of Latin America? I hadn’t thought about it much, but I’d always assumed that it was.

        • ajay

          Yes, of course Brazil is part of Latin America. Latin America covers pretty much all of the Americas from Mexico south, though you could make an exception for Belize (English-speaking).

          A lot of the criticisms seem to be the product of a confused brain.

          A passage on “Latin Literature” features the beloved Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez — who at least lived in Mexico — along with the Chilean-American Isabel Allende and the Brazilian Pablo Coelho, who wrote in Portuguese

          – the author seems to think that if you aren’t Mexican you don’t count as Latino/a, which is just weird. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Coelho and Isabel Allende all belong in the “Latin Literature” category. Portuguese is a Latin language!

          “Every year, Mexican-American festivals feature mariachi bands and traditional Spanish dancing,” one passage reads, before going on to mention the not-quite-so-Mexican salsa, tango and rumba.

          It doesn’t mention them as Mexican. It mentions them as Latin, which they are. In a passage headed “Spanish Music and Dancing”.

          Surely there must be crazier bits to nutpick than this.

          • sonamib

            But it’s Paulo Coelho, not Pablo Coelho. Pablo isn’t a very common name in Brazil, though it is very common in Spanish-speaking countries. I think it’s fair to say that the author of the book had no idea what the fuck they were talking about.

            • liberalrob

              That never stopped anyone…QED ad nauseam

      • Mike G

        I missed the section discussing great Latino athletes like Speedy Gonzales and outlaws like the Frito Bandito, but I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.


  • Dennis Orphen

    Why would anyone want to destroy this society? It’s destroying itself on its own and doesn’t need any help, but thanks for offering.

  • efgoldman

    OK, based on some comments down below, we’re not allowed to invite Texas to secede any more because they’d take a few thousand Democrats with ’em.
    So it’s time to implement Jade Helm! Round ’em up and send ’em to the “Walmarts”. They’ll have the satisfaction of knowing they were right all along.

  • trollhattan

    Since it’s Everything Texas day, looks like the West, Texas fertilizer disaster began as an arson fire.

    Have they bothered to begin regulating fertilizer storage, or has this been chalked up as “One of those things nobody could have anticipated”?

    • efgoldman

      Have they bothered to begin regulating fertilizer storage

      Probably the funniest thing I’ve read this week!
      What? Impose on the job creators? Why, just with this one instance, they’ve created firefighter jobs. ambulance driver jobs, undertaker’s assistant jobs….

    • Lost Left Coaster

      I somehow missed that article. I am speechless.

      • efgoldman

        I somehow missed that article. I am speechless.

        Was on teevee network news, too, although buried.

      • Warren Terra

        I saw a headline about “a criminal act” but I assumed it was criminal irresponsibility in storing massive amounts of explosives; I didn’t realize it meant arson.

  • medrawt

    Really, they’re all the same, amiright?

    I rarely talk about it in this way because it’s a sensitive subject, I’m coming from a position of relative privilege, and many other people with skin in the game seem to disagree, but this is a huge part of why since childhood I’ve disliked the usage of “Latino” and “Hispanic”; it seemed to me like a way to put 1.5 continents’ worth of complexity and diversity in a box that was much more convenient for the ignorance of American gringos than it was for the recognition of Americans with Latin American and/or Hispanophonic ancestry.

    • delazeur

      Eh, people often say “Asian,” “African,” “European,” etc. and “South American” isn’t quite accurate to describe Latinos/Hispanics. Not sure the erasure of nuance would be prevented by changing our language.

      • Not sure the erasure of nuance would be prevented by changing our language.

        Maybe not, but I tell you what, you don’t want to be any kind of spellcaster up against a Gringo DerpLord bearing a +5 Eraser of Nuance!

  • MaxUtility

    Does the text cover Mexico’s deep culinary history of Taco Bowls? You can’t really understand (or love) Hispanics without understanding that.

  • Funkhauser

    On a lay level, educational reformers were also making progress.
    In 1978, a Bolivian immigrant with Aymara Indian
    ancestry, Jaime Escalante, became famous for helping an
    underprivileged class of Los Angeles Latinos learn calculus
    and pass the AP Calculus exam. He became so successful
    that his graduates became the largest proportion of those entering
    the University of Southern California from East Los
    Angeles. Escalante avoided political and social agendas
    and instead pushed for “hard work, and lots of it, for teacher
    and student alike.”5 Several Latino teachers followed in his
    footsteps and, while they were not always appreciated for
    evading the Chicano movement, they helped get hundreds
    of Mexican-Americans into college.

    Page 421 of 512

    Good thing he avoided having a social or political agenda, so as to evade the movement.

    • liberalrob

      Ooo, she saw “Stand And Deliver!”

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Is it too much to ask that subject experts, you know, write the textbooks? I guess so.

    • Warren Terra

      I had a related comment, but it’s stuck in moderation because I messed up and didn’t remove a third link.

    • liberalrob

      It is in Texas.

  • BigHank53

    I wonder which Cabinet seat President Cruz would have offered her?

  • Brett

    They should ban anyone who didn’t send their kids to public schools from sitting on a public school board (which would nicely keep out Dunbar and many of her conservative ilk).

  • DrDick

    The state of Texas, proudly lowering the national median IQ for 40 years.

    • liberalrob

      Try 170…or 180 if you want to get technical…

  • rea

    called public schooling . . . a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”

    I would have loved a little perversion back when I was in public school, but no such luck.

    • It was there for you all the time, but so subtle that you never noticed.

  • Warren Terra

    Since Erik hasn’t disinterred it from Moderation for a day now, and since recent comments suggest this thread isn’t quite dead, I’ll repost my long-delayed comment:

    The authors are a hoot. Neither has a bio on the book. This may be because neither has any obvious qualifications to write such a book, and both have really wacky backgrounds.

    One appears to be this treasure; past experience on that page notably doesn’t include any writing or any academic study of history, but does include one year as the principal of a Christian K-12 academy; a professional title of “Subject Matter Expert” whose listed duties include nothing concrete and certainly don’t include any “expertise”; and work as a “wellness expert” who will “transform your cluttered mind into a peaceful fountain of creativity”.

    And here’s the other author. A proud product of Regent University, she is the distaff half of an apparent wingtastic husband/wife (unless it’s brother/sister, or some such) team of nutty Christianist writers whose oeuvre (published by “Kingdom Change Ministries”) includes Cracking the End Time Code, which she has previously marketed as exactly what you’d think it would be, but more recently claims is “against the Armageddon fad”. She does have a Masters in Education from Duke, making her more qualified than her writing partner, but has no apparent subject matter expertise in American History, Mexican History, Sociology, Anthropology – or, frankly, anything else other than Jesus.

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