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Sam Houston Points You Towards A Nice And Productive Weekend

Above is the great Sam Houston in Houston’s Hermann Park.

Sam is pointing you towards having a restful and productive weekend.

The two are not all contradictory. Getting stuff done can help ease the mind.

One thing you could do is visit the Sam Houston Memorial Museum up the road from  Houston in Huntsville.

Another idea would be to support Occupy Houston and Occupy Galveston over the  weekend.

Here are some facts about Sam from the excellent Handbook of Texas Online.

Sam looks to have someplace in mind with his pointing up on that statue.

But for our purposes let’s just say that Sam is suggesting that you pick any enjoyable and helpful course for the weekend.

October 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resources To Learn About Texas—175th Anniversary Of Texas Independence

Today marks the 175th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto.  This was the battle in which Texas Independence was won from Mexico.

To mark the day, Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat is trying to use some Republic of Texas currency to buy a book of Texas history. Hamburger is a member of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

While many conservative Texans might wish that this currency was still valid, I may have  to spot Hamburger a few real dollars to buy the book.

It should be recalled that most Texans at the time wanted Texas to join the federal union as a state.

Below are some resources to learn more about Texas.

Everybody has the ability to learn for themselves about the subjects they view as important in life. The resources to learn about the world are all around us, and are accessible with effort and imagination.

Lone Star Nation–The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands will tell you all you need to know about how Texans won independence from Mexico.

Texas: A Modern History by David McComb is short and readable history of Texas history all the way up to the current century.

The Texas Almanac is simply one of the best reference books I own on any topic. The Almanac is published by the Texas State Historical Society.

(The budget of the Texas State Historical Society is under attack from Governor Rick Perry and Republicans in Texas. Is this how we should honor Texas history?) 

The Handbook of Texas Online is very comprehensive on many aspects of Texas both past and present. The Handbook is also published by the Texas Historical Society.

Here is the link for San Jacinto Museum.  You can see the San Jacinto battlefield at this site.

Here is the link to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville.

April 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling All Smart Kids—Come To Texas To Compete For College Spots And Jobs Against Kids Who Get Right-Wing Education In Public Schools

File:Sam-houston-school-maryville.jpg

The Texas State Board of Education is talking about changes in what  kids learn about history and social studies in public schools. They want to shift the curriculum away from the facts and towards the political and Christian right.

Here is a Houston Chronicle article on the subject.   

( Above–A schoolhouse in Maryville, Tennessee where Sam Houston taught in the early 1800’s. Here is the link to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville, Texas. This schoolhouse in Maryville is open to the public and has an interesting history. Please click here to learn more about it.)

The Wall Street Journal has also written about this subject. Here is the link to that story.  From the article—

“The Texas Board of Education, which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist critiques of evolution, is revising the state’s social studies curriculum. In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history.”

The articles here speak for themselves. What is to be taught is a right-wing inaccurate version of the facts. Parents, and all concerned citizens, can decide to take a role in this debate or they can just ignore it all.

Here is the link to the Texas State Board of Education.

People say that having kids changes you and that people care about their kids more than anything. What I see is apathy about education and parents who lack the imagination and the willingness to prepare kids for the demands of adulthood.

I’m happy to be proven wrong on this— But it won’t be individual examples of great education and great parenting that impress. I know these things take place all the time.

What will convince me is a well-educated society as a whole, and parents who take the time needed for their own kids and who are willing to meet the tax burden required to provide a decent education for all kids.  

In the meantime, if you’ve got a smart hard-working kid, bring the kid to Texas and take advantage of the weak competition for college spots and good jobs. 

 From the Houston Chronicle article—

Biographies of Washington, Lincoln, Stephen F. Austin? Not fit reading material for children in the early grades. Cesar Chavez? Not worthy of his role-model status. Christianity? Emphasize its importance. Such suggestions are part of efforts to rewrite history books for the state’s schoolchildren, producing some expert recommendations that are sure to inflame Texans, no matter their political leanings.

The State Board of Education expects to start discussing new social studies curriculum standards this week, with members of the public getting their first opportunity to speak this fall and a final board vote next spring.

The process is a long one with lasting impact: reshaping the social studies curriculum, including history, for 4.7 million Texas public school children. “This is something that every parent would want to be paying attention to… ”

Curriculum standards are updated about every 10 years; the last social studies update came in 1997. According to a preliminary draft of the new proposed standards, biographies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Stephen F. Austin have been removed from the early grades, said Brooke Terry of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The early draft, which is likely to change multiple times in the coming months, also removes Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, and anthems and mottos for bothTexas and the United States in a section on holidays, customs and celebrations, she said. “You have the ability to shape the next generation on the beliefs about the government and the role of personal responsibility but also understanding our history and the principles that we want to pass down to our children,” Terry said. “With many of the suggested changes, I think we would be backtracking on many of the important things that people fight for in defense of our country.” Continue reading

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments