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 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.
Among the familiar faces in The Revisionaries are Chris Comer, Raymond Eve, Barbara Forrest, the Texas Freedom Network's Kathy Miller, Ken Miller, Texas Citizens for Science's Steven Schafersman, Gerald Skoog, Ron Wetherington, and NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott.
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!