Texas State Board of Education takes on Brown Bear, Red Scare

In case you missed it, the Texas State Board of Education has voted to remove the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? from the curriculum standards for third grade because the author, Bill Martin, Jr., also wrote a book about Marxism.

Except that was a different Bill Martin, Jr.

According to Statesman.com, two Board members tell conflicting stories about how the little mix-up occurred, but Borders.com has been mentioned as the source of information about the two Mr. Martins.

I’m not making this up.

David suggests two possibilities: (1) The complete text of Brown Bear contains the lines, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see Karl Marx looking at me”; or (2) The Brown Bear is really a thinly veiled reference to the Russian bear. In either case, he says, the book is not appropriate for eight-year-olds.

It’s hard to argue with that.


3 thoughts on “Texas State Board of Education takes on Brown Bear, Red Scare

  1. While this is an amusing anecdote, it is also a sobering reminder that we need more educators on the board, and that we need to bring the focus of the board back to educating future generations of Texans. This is why I’m running for Texas State Board of Education, District 5. Visit http://www.voterebecca.com for more information.
    Thank you,
    Rebecca Bell-Metereau


  2. Dr. Bell-Metereau, thank you for commenting. I’m pleased you’re running. It would be wonderful if there were an educator on the ballot in every district.

    I went through five hours of ranting before calming down enough to write this. My rants do not make good reading. I was an English teacher and K-12 [and public] librarian, and I tend to take these reports personally.

    My niece asked why Brown Bear was under consideration for third grade at all; she had read it to her eleven-month-old yesterday morning. If I had tried to present it to my third-graders, they’d have laughed me out of the room.

    Good luck, and again, thanks.


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