Schlafly: Textbooks standards could offset the ‘bias to the left’
If you don’t know who Phyllis Schlafly is, you’re not alone. The conservative leader who led the fight in stopping the Equal Rights Amendment, is a fringe figure in American politics. In the early 70s she inserted herself into the debate over the Amendment, staged protests, baked pies for state Senators and famously raised the specter of unisex bathrooms (the horror!) if the ERA was ever passed.
And while you might not have ever heard her name, Schalfly’s story might soon be drilled into the tender minds of Texas school children if the Republican-run Texas School Board has their way. The Board has drafted new standard’s for its textbooks demanding they “identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority.” There’s no claim in there that any comparable liberal persons or groups be required reading.
Of no surprise is Schlafly’s support of this plan. “Textbooks are very biased to the left and leave out a lot of things that ought to be in the history books,” she told me by phone earlier this afternoon. She believes that setting standards that included the teaching of her role in American history “could help even out that bias.”
Slightly paradoxically, if such a liberal bias exists, Schlafly asserted that she was already in many textbooks. “I’ve been in history books for years,” she said. “People send me my picture in textbooks all the time.”
While such standards might seem like small potatoes now, they have potentially larger implications in the future, as my former colleague Justin Elliott writes at Talking Points Memo. Large states like California and Texas often set the standards for curriculum included by national publishers. Mandatory inclusion of outmoded and often erroneous arguments in school curriculum would appear to be a much more serious concern than President Obama’s supposed socialist indoctrination of the nation’s school children.