Friday, March 26, 2010

Who gets to write history?

Mike Green takes on the Texas politicians rewriting the history curriculum.

History is always political, and should be, which is why contested, unofficial views and interpretations are often a lot more fun. Maybe that's why I've generally stayed out of writing textbooks (well, also because the big Ed publishers pay diddley-squat and want to appropriate all your rights and produce adulterated crap, but that's another story.) But, as Texas shows, if we keep on electing crazy people, we end up getting crazy history.

Update: Dan Francis, terrific writer, history blogger, and frequent textbook author -- and the guy from whom I learned that Jimi Hendrix is Canadian! -- writes to
take issue with your rather snarky comments about textbook writing, given that I've written several in my time, tho' not so much any more
and of course he is completely right. He's just one of many textbook authors who do terrific work, and get paid, and should not get sidesnarked when I'm being jaundiced about some of the publishers in the field.

Further update, March 27: Not to be missed is John Allemang's Globe & Mail interview with one of the Texas board members who mandated the new textbook. Recalling an earlier post about democracy, I particularly liked this bit:
We're a republic, a constitutional republic. That's why a lot of states are challenging Obama's health-care legislation on a constitutional basis, not on a democratic basis. We're a constitutional republic, so those challenges are not on how many people voted one way or the other.
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