The Revisionaries on PBS – today Jan 28


The Revisionaries — Scott Thurman’s acclaimed documentary about the controversy over the Texas state board of education’s efforts to undermine the scientific and historical integrity of the textbooks used in the state’s public schools — is airing on PBS. 

The Revisionaries
will be aired on Independent Lens, the Emmy-award-winning series on PBS airing a different original documentary film every week, starting on January 28, 2013 — but dates and times vary, so check your local listings! 

Coming to Toronto on  (WNED) on Feb. 3, 2013 at 11pm and on Feb. 8, 2013 at 4am. (via Larry Moran on Sandwalk)

The documentary focuses on the events of 2009 and 2010, when the antievolution faction on the Texas state board of education sought to consolidate its gains despite encountering increasing opposition. As the film’s description explains:

In Austin, Texas, fifteen people influence what is taught to the next generation of American children. Once every decade, the highly politicized Texas State Board of Education rewrites the teaching and textbook standards for its nearly 5 million schoolchildren. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas affects the nation as a whole. Don McLeroy, a dentist, Sunday school teacher, and avowed young-earth creationist, leads the Religious Right charge. After briefly serving on his local school board, McLeroy was elected to the Texas State Board of Education and later appointed chairman. During his time on the board, McLeroy has overseen the adoption of new science and history curriculum standards, drawing national attention and placing Texas on the front line of the so-called “culture wars.” In his last term, McLeroy, aided by Cynthia Dunbar, an attorney from Houston and professor of Law at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, finds himself not only fighting to change what Americans are taught, but also fighting to retain his seat on the board. Challenged by Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, and Ron Wetherington, an anthropology professor from Southern Methodist University in Texas, McLeroy faces his toughest term yet. The Revisionaries follows the rise and fall of some of the most controversial figures in American education through some of their most tumultuous intellectual battles.

Written By: NCSE
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  1. McLeroy is quoted as saying ”That little baby born in the manger was the god that created the universe”. How come in his whole life he never thought to tell people he made the world round?

  2. Last evening I watched Inherit The Wind, again. This morning, I’m able to say that the battle line is more or less still where it was at the time of the Scopes trial, despite the mountainous amount of evidence acquired since.

    The most positive thing is, that I cannot recommend the film too highly.

    Apart from giving heart by portraying insipient young “Darwinians” of the time, and the numbers of specialist academics prepared to testify in Scopes’s defence, the screen play is beautifully written, being in turn funny, tragic, uncannily prescient, and profoundly perceptive.

    H L Mencken is fictionalized as E K Hombeck, who delivers the famous aphorism, “It is the task of journalism to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” : doubtless I paraphrase.

  3. Alan4discussion – You’re forgetting it’s a magic boat and magic food…

    In reply to #9 by Alan4discussion:

    The laughing-stock of the educated world!!!!! Tex-asses!

    Titanic-vs.-Noahs-ark – . . . .. . . . (Right click & select “view image”)

  4. I currently live in Texas, and I am saddened to say that our “governor” is taking us backwards with our educational system…let me give you an example of just how ignorant our current governor Rick Perry is…he tried to get Texas to secede from the US…If that doesn’t show how ignorant he is, I don’t know what does..

  5. In reply to #2 by Neodarwinian:

    Once in a while, this is one of those whiles, I regret not having a television machine.

    Not having a “television machine” isn’t my problem, my problem is getting into a reception area from the far side of the Pacific.

  6. In reply to #4 by EbeneezerGude:

    It is frightening really. That this can go on today….wow. I would be very interested to go to Texas to meet these people, just to understand how this sort of rationale works.

    There simply is no rationale other than:the bible says so. Therefor ,it must be true.

    Even if most was written on hearsay from illiteratesthousands of years ago. Even if all of that book has been proved to be false or wrong.

  7. In reply to #11 by esmith4102:

    It never ceases to amaze and sadden me the high level of honor some Americans give to incipience and fools.

    Sort of like the Brits with religion in their schools.

    Of course it is on at 10pm. 8pm would be better; more people would watch.

  8. In reply to #2 by Neodarwinian:

    Once in a while, this is one of those whiles, I regret not having a television machine.

    Not having a television machine isn’t my problem, my problem is getting into a reception area from the far side of the Pacific.

  9. Watched it tonight. It was painful to see that much stupid on public display doing damage to education. Fortunately, the deluded by faith did not manage to do as much harm to the science text books as they did to the history books. It ends with the sobering fact that the new standards do not get reviewed until 2020.

  10. I made a point of watching this program last night. In one sense it was dispiriting to see an obviously politico/religious agenda succeeding in its goals, but conversely it was encouraging to witness the “good” folk who spend a tremendous amount of time and commitment in opposing this blatant nonesense, and we should be grateful. I am British but have lived in the US for over thirty years and elements of the legal/political system continue to bemuse me.

    Focusing on local and State level issues only, I think democratic principles have run riot. How can it make practical sense that School Board officials are elected rather than appointed ( on the basis of qualification) by the Governor? This can and does result in people like Don Mcelroy, a young earth believing dentist, being on the Board– or even the Chairman. It results in decision making bodies such as this being staffed by hacks and boobs who have absolutely no qualification or basis to make the sort of judgements that are required for the position. And this in an area of critical importance for the long term future of any country– the education of the young. Unfortunately in the State of Texas it is likely true that even if the Governor was making the appointments the situation would be just as bad. Also unfortunate is the fact that the economics of the text book business strongly influence adoptions by the rest of the country based on what these goobers in Texas do. For those of you who are British it might also amuse you to understand that in many State jurisdictions local Judges are also elected rather than appointed– now doesn’t that make a lot of sense!

    These people are going beyond issues like the teaching of evolution in school– which I didn’t realize– they are imposing their agenda on social study and history text books, and for example limiting reference to Thomas Jefferson (likely an atheist or the 18th century equivalent), promoting the philosophy of Calvin, etc. I guess you get what you deserve and the good people of Texas have brought this upon themselves (with a 22% election turnout). But again, the impact of Texas decisions isn’t limited to Texas alone– it cascades down to other States and against the wishes of teachers they must deal with text books which are not only deficient but also misleading.

    As Don King has said– “only in America”

  11. While observing this guy doing dental work on people, was anyone else here besides me immediately reminded of the Steve Martin character in “Little Shop Of Horrors?” Needless to say, I would certainly be uncomfortable having somebody digging around in my mouth while crooning “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” out of tune. For that matter, I also wouldn’t want him crooning “The Way We Were,” “So Far Away,” “Baby I’m A-Want You” or any other early 70s adult contemporary hits. There was once a time when that was the sort of stuff that was pumped through the speaker systems of dental offices across the nation. Now that it no longer is, I sure hope that this clown is the only one who has taken it upon himself to replace it with his own brand of off-key warbling.

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