Fact Check: Gail Lowe



Dave Mann

Quorum Report has posted the first interview with Gail Lowe, the new chair of the State Board of Education.

QR asked Lowe about her appointment of Christian Right activist David Barton to a panel of experts reviewing social studies curriculum.

Barton questions the inclusion of Cesar Chavez in the “Heroes of History” section of the social studies curriculum.

That caused a stir this week.

For her part, Lowe told QR the whole thing was taken out of context. “I have not read the (expert panel) recommendations exhaustively yet, but I’m sure he had made some excellent suggestions that we can use to formulate good social studies standards,” she said.

Maybe she should read Barton’s submission a little closer.

We’ll even help her out, so there’s no confusion about what Barton wrote.

Here’s the entire section from Barton’s social studies critique in which he discusses the “Heroes of History” and who should be included. You know, so everyone can see the context:

Heroes of HistoryIt often appears that the names included in individual TEKS do not necessarily represent what is described in a particular TEKS; instead it seems that a list of names to be covered in a history text was compiled and then those names were scattered throughout the document without specific regard to the specific content of that TEK. In other cases, the selection made was not a particularly strong representative.For example:In Grade 5 (b)(1)(B), Anne Hutchinson, although an historic figure was not “a significant colonial leader.”In Grade 5 (b)(5)(B), Colin Powell is a weak choice for a group representing those “who have made contributions to society in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, military actions, and politics,” but Harry Truman desegregate the military and called for civil rights planks in the Democrat Platform, end WW II, and serve as an effective president, thus including him in three of the categories off that TEKS rather than just the one category for Powell.In Grade 5 (b)(19)(C), Cesar Chavez may be a choice representing diversity but he certainly lacks the stature, impact, and overall contributions of so many others; and his open affiliation with Saul Alinsky’s movements certainly makes dubious that he is a praiseworthy to be heralded to students as someone “who modeled active participation in the democratic process.”In Grade 5 (b)(24)(A), there are certainly many more notable scientists than Carl Sagan – such as Wernher von Braun, Matthew Maury, Joseph Henry, Maria Mitchell, David Rittenhouse, etc.