Independent Lens: The Revisionaries

About This Episode


In Austin, Texas, 15 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 five 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. Elected to the Texas State Board of Education and later appointed chairman, 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 finds himself not only fighting to change what Americans are taught, but also fighting to retain his seat on the board. 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.