In his column about education reform, Sam Brill ’10 sounded an outraged note at the recent vote by the Texas Board of Education to change the state’s high school curriculum (“Let’s mess with Texas,” March 24). Their new curriculum promotes, he wrote, a “Christianist, conservative ideology, often at odds with vast historical consensus. In other words, he claims Texas students will no longer be getting the facts of history, but rather the radical right’s interpretation.”
Leaving aside the question of whether the Board’s changes present a biased view of history, I wonder what’s so bad about history curriculum that’s biased. Brill seems to think that it is possible to teach only “the facts of history.” But we cannot view history objectively — humans have a limited memory and comprehension.
A deluge of “facts” overwhelms us and teaches us nothing. Someone must take a scalpel to the annals of history or our high schoolers will learn even less than they do already. One trick of storytelling is to leave out the minor details while still making a point, and history is just another story. The Texas school board agrees that our story is best told by leaving out some parts and including others, and that’s just fine. How else should our history be decided if not by the democratically elected bodies?
When the people of Texas decide how to tell their history, we have no right to criticize them.
The writer is a freshman in Ezra Stiles College.