The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024

Who knew a culture war would revolve around Texas?

Texas should seek to earn educational prestige by engaging in real reform.

Who knew that it would all come down to Texas? 

Over the past decade, the term “culture wars” has been used to describe the drastic social and ideological changes our nation has undergone and the subsequent attempts at returning to the status quo. 

But few would have ever characterized (or predicted) Texas as the epicenter of this bitter conflict until now.

Just in case you have not been tuning into the news this week, I will break it down for you. The March 2 primary election in our lovely state marks the beginning of the voting term for our State Board of Education, among other offices.  Usually, such a tediously bureaucratic election would go unnoticed by most. 

This year, however, the situation is quite distinct.

You see, the time has come to edit the state curriculum and, along with it, the textbooks used.  These textbooks will be published en masse and distributed to every bright-eyed and bushy-tailed student enrolled in Texas public schools.  Last time I checked, that was a lot of kids. 

Board of Education members routinely argue about exactly what constitutes history, science, and literature when deciding what to include in and exclude (and at times, expunge) from our state’s schoolbooks. 

Hot-button topics like evolution, intelligent design, and whether or not our founding fathers intended our nation to have Christian values are the order of the day.  Only the touchiest of subjects will do; it is clear why so many Texas voters and politicians alike have become so inflamed about it all.

The controversy, however, does not end there. 

The troubles begin when we look past the aforementioned Texas school kids and focus on those that live in the 46 or 47 other states who have historically followed Texas’s lead in their textbook purchasing decisions. 

Apparently, our unofficial state motto—”Don’t mess with Texas”—can be applied to our textbook curriculum.

Does Texas, a largely conservative state with specialized interests, really deserve to be the model for American education? 

It would be one thing if other states looked to and admired us purely for our wisdom and maturity in curriculum development, but it seems that the only reason we carry so much clout in the publishing industry is a matter of proportions.  Texas is bigger.  Texas orders a lot of textbooks.  Therefore, Texas is in charge.

Liberals and conservatives alike argue the dire importance of school curriculum in shaping the character of our country, which explains why both groups are willing to go to the mats for their respective causes. 

However, no matter who wins this March, it is the kids who will undoubtedly lose.

Instead of arguing over the little things, perhaps lawmakers would be more prudent to address more gaping issues in education, such as the ever-widening gap in development between rural and urban schools and along socioeconomic lines. 

If Texas could be the first state to truly create positive change in our nation’s failing educational system, perhaps it might be emulated for the good that it does rather than the textbooks that it buys.

Rebecca Quinn is a junior art history, Spanish, and French triple major. She can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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