Sunday, May 23, 2010

Picking on Texas

Briefly, the Post carried an article on the revised social studies curriculum for Texas schools on Friday, Ann Althouse posted an extensive criticism of the article Sunday morning at 1:48 am, and Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy posted early this afternoon.  Adler started off with Althouse in being critical, but it's become reasonably clear that the Texans published proposed standards in April, which is what Althouse read, but last week they made some more changes, which is what the Post article referred to, so Adler has switched to being critical of Althouse.

In addition to taking pride in being right (I commented on Althouse's post that the pdf's she referred to were last revised in April) I think the episode is interesting on several counts:

  • Althouse jumped to conclusions, dissing the Post and defending the Texans. And her commenters mostly followed suit.  This might count as conservative close-mindedness, but more reasonably it's just another example of how easily we all follow our prejudices in what we accept.
  •  Adler gets props for acknowledging his initial error.
  • Althouse's jump was based on the assumption that the Texan pdf files were the latest version. That's probably the most interesting thing: we now assume that official actions are available on line and that they will be updated promptly.
  • Texas bureaucrats get dinged--they wasted lots of time and electrons by failing to update their documents as fast as we expect.  If only they had used Google Documents, they could and should have been updated as the commission adopted changes and the documents up on the Net as the meeting ended.
[Updated: Althouse has added to her post to modify her position somewhat and to reflect some of the info available from the Post.  I'm disappointed though with the tenor of her addition, but anyone who's blogging at 3 in the morning! deserves some sympathy.

Meanwhile the American Historical Association sent a letter to Texas which is interesting.]

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