Politics & Government

Texas education board changes history — for schools, anyway

AUSTIN — The Texas State Board of Education decided to postpone a tentative vote on proposed social studies curriculum standards until March, after spending 10 hours adding to and changing the text this week without finishing.

By Friday afternoon, when a vote was originally scheduled, they still had the majority of a draft of high school social studies Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to evaluate.

"It's obviously a very important subject. We've had many amendments and input. The additional time I think may serve us all well as we go through the process," said Bob Craig, who made the motion to stop discussion.

The board's final vote on the standards will now be pushed to May.

The process has included several public flashpoints — including whether figures like Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall would stay in, what role the faith of the Founding Fathers would play, and whether enough Hispanic and other minorities were included.

Earlier in the day, Board Member Don McLeroy suggested replacing the word "imperialism" in a suggested 10-year-update of the curriculum with the phrase used in the original version — "expansionism." Then, he wanted to take out a mention of "propaganda" in section on World War I.

That last suggestion drew the ire of Patricia Hardy, of Weatherford, a long-time social studies teachers.

"Guys, you're rewriting history now," she said. "Every book will tell you that propaganda was one of the reasons for U.S. entry into World War I and that’s simply what that is telling you . . . It was not something horrible or mean. It was a method."

Both of McLeroy's amendments passed.

The 15-member board is in the process of approving a draft of social studies Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills that was prepared by review committees. Those committees were made up mostly of educators from across the state. The curriculum standards will dictate how the state's 4.7 million schoolchildren are taught social studies.

Read more at Star-Telegram.com