By Lynn Ashby 2 Nov. 2015
To: All Texas Principles
From: State Board of Education
Subject: Slight Adjustments
As you may no, the State Board of Education, or SBOE, adopted new textbooks in 2010 to be used by our 5 million public school childs. We selected these books only after careful studies and advice from skolars, students who had been to at least some community college classes or were working on their GED, We also sollistated input from the general public by holding a town hall meeting. The town we chose was Terlingua, which, unfortunately, didn’t have a town hall, so we met from 3 to 4 a.m. at a 24-hour CVS in Marfa. Attendance was disappointingly small.
We thought everything waz done, and told the publisher, Typo & Smudge, Inc., to start printing. This fall semester the books were distributed. Only now have we run into problems. Some trouble-making teenager in Sugar Land went home to tell his mother that a textbook, “Things That Have Happened,” explained slavery in the South by noting that some slave owners treated their slaves with kindness, provided them food, lodging and clothes. The textbook mentions the “hope” that Christianisn provided to the blacks. Folk tales expressed “joy,” and community dances were great social events. But what ticked off that young man was that the slaves brought over from Africa were referred as “workers.” They were practically waiting at the docks for a chance to slap on chains for a one-way cruise to New York or Charleston.
In these politically correct, or PC, days, the SBOE felt it had to do something, so we contacted the publishers who agreed to send us stickers to paste over those terms which might possibly offend the thin-skinned (of all skins). For example, it was suggested that we use stickers reading “Native Americans” rather than “savages, scalpers and kidnappers of small children.” We compromised on “Indians.”
A motion to use a sticker reading “Democrats” rather than “Godless commies” died for lack of a second. In our new biology book, “Don’t Ask,” the chapter on sex, “Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder,” all mention of where babies come from has been deleted. School districts with special locations for unwed student mothers will not be exempted as the SBOE feels by then it’s too late.
Getting back to slavery, the section on “The War of Northern Aggression” will be replaced by “The War for Southern Independence.” Causes of the war will no longer include “Yankees talked funny,” “they put beans in their chili” and “it would never have happened if they could have grown cotton in Boston Commons.” There was a motion to add a paragraph or at least a sentence on the Emancipation Proclamation and how it really didn’t change anything – it only freed workers in the Confederacy, good luck, Abe — but was good PR for Lincoln. Most board members felt 12th graders are too young understand such long words as the Emancipation Proclamation. The same for Appomattox.
Besides some sections not being PC, other critics have pointed out some “factual errors” in our new books on Texas. Sam Houston led the Texans at San Jacinto. San Houston did not lead the taxmen at Sam Jacinto. The city of Houston was not originally named Hughestown for Howard Hughes. Ben and Jerry’s does not have a flavor called Remember the a la Mode. Roe v. Wade was not a debate on how best to cross the Rio Grande. Our new book on the U.S., called “The Lesser 49,” needs some stickers. Herbert Hoover did not invent the vacuum cleaner. Thomas Edison did not invent electricity; that was Benjamin Franklin. Regis Philbin is not a hotel in Chicago. Some critics said this next question was a bit condescending. If the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans play nationally on Monday Night Football, who will be the winner? Answer: Any other channel.
Incedentally, none of these changes would be necessary if it weren’t for those nosey outsiders like parents, teachers with real teaching certificates and so-called “experts” in their fields. They accuse members of the SBOE of imposing their own right-wing political filosophies on authors of textbooks instead of imposing their own left-wing filosophies. Nonsense, as we told one another at the last Glenn Beck book-signing.
There has been some quibbling about our new science book, “As God Made It.” The chapter, “Global Warming and Other Myths,” needs a sticker reading, “some people say,” and not, “leftist professors and Nobel laurates.” Under the multi-choice question, “What causes pollution and what, if anything, should Texas do about it?” The choices were: “Nothing, because pollution is caused by trees.” “Nothing. Pollution means jobs, especially for the millions who moved here to find work and get away from the Smog Belt.” Finally: “Smog is a hoax, just like the BP Gulf oil spill.” You will receive a sticker giving another choice: “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will part the seas, smite the heathens and cleanse the air.”
In our new vocabulary workbooks, the explanation that a pediatrician is a baby doctor should have made it clear that the person is not actually a doctor who is a baby. Also, the second reference should have read “pediatrician” and not “pedophile.”
Our new math textbooks also need some stickers. One problem: If five workers pick cotton for five days, and they are paid $5 a day, how much would each worker get paid? The answer given, $50, is wrong on two counts. The total should be either $25 or $40, our accountants are working on that. Secondly, these particular workers were in the South and didn’t get paid anything.
The problem: If a train leaves Dallas for Houston at noon going 50 miles an hour and another train on the same track leaves Houston for Dallas going 60 miles an hour, where will they meet? The correct answer should be: Just south of Centerville and not: In eternity. Thank you fer making these minor changes, workers.
Ashby slaves at email@example.com