The Instigator
abard124
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
nbachamp101
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Texas Board of Education should not have adopted the new social studies curriculum

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
abard124
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,383 times Debate No: 12106
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

abard124

Pro

Today, against much protest, the Texas state Board of Education adopted a new social studies curriculum that waters down and/or removes various portions of our history, such as slavery and civil rights [1]. It also requires that students learn about alleged Judeo-Christian influences on our country at the time of its founding, but it does not require that textbooks cover the separation of church and state or any rationale behind that practice [2].

Now, I support open-mindedness, but this is not open-mindedness in any way. Schools are a coercive environment, and students are told things in school every day that they are expected to take as fact. In addition, young people are much more easily pressured and convinced of things than older people. These changes are not promoting open-mindedness, they are promoting a political agenda that only focuses on what will make said political agenda look good. Isn't that what we saw in
Stalinist Russia and Maoist China? They are trying to change history for their advantage. It's happened before, but not in a legitimate democracy (or as the new Texas standards require, a "constitutional republic"). I'm not one of those people who hates the government, but this seems almost like government mind control, and that is rather excessive.

I am looking forward to somebody taking this debate!

1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
2. http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
nbachamp101

Con

Thank you for letting me take this debate.

Throughout your argument, you make the point that schools should promote open-mindedness, and I fully agree with this statement. However, as stated in your sources, the Repbublicans wish to remove the supposed rationale behind the seperation of church and state, from the textbooks. Is this not not only promoting open mindedness, but allowing the students to have a totally unbaised perspective of history? I beleive that through removing the biased opinions that have been stated IN history, we are having a clearer view of what actually occured during these time periods. I urge you to find a history textbook that shows all of the instances where blacks harmed white civilians. There are rarely any such textbooks because ultimately, blacks won their freedom, and history is written by the victor. You must understand that when this school board wishes to change the textbooks, they are not changing history, rather, they are simply showing another side of the story of our country. Finally, I would like to point out that the USA is NOT a full democracy, it is technically a constitututional republic, so I do not see why this is an issue. This is why I beleive that the schools in Texas are toally justified in changing the perspective of their history books.

Once again, thank you for the oppurtunity to debate.
Debate Round No. 1
abard124

Pro

Thank you for your quick response!

"Is this not not only promoting open mindedness, but allowing the students to have a totally unbaised perspective of history?"
Perhaps you misunderstood what they meant. It doesn't mean that they would otherwise be saying that the separation of church and state is a good thing because of so and so, it means that otherwise they would be saying that the separation of church and state exists, and this is why they decided to do that. That way they can formulate their opinions with the knowledge of what the founders had in mind.

"I beleive that through removing the biased opinions that have been stated IN history, we are having a clearer view of what actually occured during these time periods."
History without opinions is like math without numbers. In math without numbers, you are left with formulas and ideas, but no way to truly understand and use the math. If one was to take all of the opinions out of history and social studies, all that you could get out of the study is the raw ideas, and none of the enrichment or applications involved with the opinions. Not to say they should say whether the opinions are right or wrong, they should just present the opinions and rationale as to why these things happened or why people thought they should. Otherwise you could ultimately end up with a history book that tells you that Hitler killed 21 million people, but it wouldn't be able to tell you why he thought that was a good idea, or why nobody else thought it was a good idea. So you basically end up with a book about a bunch of people doing random things for no reason and with no reaction. That's crazy. But you've sent me on a tangent. Texas isn't doing that. What they're doing is cutting out or significantly reducing the coverage of certain areas of history that are in any way detrimental to their political agenda, which certainly does remove some opinions here and there, such as the rationale behind the separation of church and state.

"I beleive that through removing the biased opinions that have been stated IN history, we are having a clearer view of what actually occured during these time periods."
(Yes, I am aware that I used the same quote twice. I am just looking at it from a different perspective). There is no way to write something without a bias unless you literally list out facts without any commentary whatsoever. Then, as I said in the last section, that's not helpful. But even if you could remove the bias, that doesn't mean removing historical facts.

"I urge you to find a history textbook that shows all of the instances where blacks harmed white civilians."
All of the instances? That happens all the time. Whites also harm blacks all the time. Whites also harm whites all the time, and so on. That's just life. But once again, this really has very little bearing on what Texas is doing. Whether or not blacks have harmed whites, they were still kept as slaves, and they still fought for their rights. That rhymed.

"You must understand that when this school board wishes to change the textbooks, they are not changing history, rather, they are simply showing another side of the story of our country."
How is it showing "a different side of the story of our country" by removing facts from the textbook? There was once a man named Saparmurat Niyyazov. He was president of Turkmenistan until 2006 when he passed away. While he was president, he literally changed the history books in his favor. He even renamed the months and the days of the week after himself and his mother. After he passed away, his successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, had to reverse a lot of those changes, but there is still a huge cult of Niyyazov's personality because it's made such a big impact on the Turkmen culture. Now, I know that Texas isn't going that far, but the reason I bring this up is (a) Texas is officially changing what is taught to students, thus creating a generation of people who will be growing up with a propagandous education, and (b) I really wanted to use Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's name in a debate.

"Finally, I would like to point out that the USA is NOT a full democracy, it is technically a constitututional republic, so I do not see why this is an issue."
It's not a huge issue, it just is. I think that the fact that they specified that is worse than the use of the term. I usually use the term "representative federalist democracy," because that is what I see the U.S. as, but constitutional republic is also a valid term. But I don't think that it is a big enough deal that that should have been a stipulation. But that's certainly not the biggest issue at hand and more of a distraction than anything.

As I've said, it's not so much a matter of neutrality as it is a matter of facts. As a textbook, it should certainly be enriched with opinions from both sides, but first and foremost, they should provide students with facts. They should provide students with facts from all of the important areas of history, good or bad for the political agenda of those approving the textbooks.

I am looking forward to your response!
nbachamp101

Con

nbachamp101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
abard124

Pro

Ay! Que pena!

Well, I don't have a lot to work with here, but I think that it would be good to sum up my arguments. The Texas board of education is making changes to the social studies curriculum that put undue stress on contentious areas of study and not enough stress on such important things as the rationale behind separation of church and state and Thomas Jefferson.

Now, many people do believe that, since history is generally written by the victors, there is already a natural bias in the history curriculum that is already being taught, so to criticize the Texas Board of education would present a double standard. This, however, is not the case. I'm not worried about Bias in Texas's decision. I am worried about a misrepresentation of facts and ideas. If their curriculum plays down the role of slavery, for example, then the civil war will naturally have to be looked at differently, and that would change the very basic knowledge that most of us take for granted from our correctly represented education. Thomas Jefferson is an integral figure in history, and they're practically ignoring him. This is not a bias, it is rewritten history.

Now, my opponent having missed a round, this debate did not progress as strongly as it could have, however, I feel that there are a few things that clearly warrant a PRO vote, whether or not you are in agreement with my premise. First of all, I have strongly developed arguments. CON does not. Second of all, I argued all three rounds. CON did not. Third of all, I was quite likely the first person in the history of this website to use Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's name in a debate. CON was not.

Vote for truth. Vote for fairness. Vote for perspective. Vote for Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Vote PRO.
nbachamp101

Con

nbachamp101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Mongeese,
You had to be disappointed in McLeroy's treatment of science and history, right? That man made a fool of himself in reference to science and did no better in the social sciences. An open mind does not mean all garbage comes in. I cannot believe you would support that board. You know more about history and science than the members...and I mean that as a compliment to you. Look at what those theocrats are doing Mongeese, please do not support them. You are better than that.
Posted by abard124 6 years ago
abard124
Gah! I just noticed my last comment... Shame on me... You should take away my spelling and grammar point...

Thank you for your vote, and thank you for the comment :-)
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Pro had solid points and I wanted to see if the Con position could be defended against the "Orwellian History" of the creationist dentist and his YEC, not Christian, comrades, but no luck. Texas stuck a blow to state's rights here as the rest of us will not settle for the nonsense they promote to be disseminated in school books. Con failed and so did the board. Pro, nail anyone who accepts the Con position, and I will help you.

All points Pro due to forfeit.
Posted by abard124 6 years ago
abard124
It seems to happen all to often that my opponent only argues one round... If anyone else wants to take this debate, I would be more than happy to debate it again...
Posted by Yetanotherlogician 7 years ago
Yetanotherlogician
This is a great debate topic. I would have to say I support pro because the decisions made by the Texas board were not well founded, especially the removal of Thomas Jefferson because of his strong support for separation of church and state.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
Yes, they should. But if you notice, my argument is not about that particular area of the changes.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
In fact, I think students should compare most major U.S. laws with the Constitution.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Looking at the source, it talks about requiring students to compare and contrast judicial decisions with the actual text of the Constitution, which actually sounds great. I can also see why we'd refer to ourselves as a constitutional republic (because we are), and learning about the decline in the dollar is okay, although I doubt the textbooks recall when FDR commanded the economy and set the price of gold at $21/oz. because it's 33 times 7, and 7 is a lucky number.

But removing Thomas Jefferson is still unforgivable.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
@nbachamp: I'm sorry, but I have to mention that your profile icon thing actually looks quite a bit like this guy who's running for governor of Oregon. The only reason that I noticed that is that he was, in fact, in the NBA.
Posted by abard124 7 years ago
abard124
Perhaps you could elaborate? I always appreciate a side-debate...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
abard124nbachamp101Tied
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Vote Placed by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
abard124nbachamp101Tied
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