Civil-rights groups seek review of Texas curriculum changes

Two civil-rights groups call Texas' new social studies curriculum ethnically offensive and 'historically inaccurate.'

Two civil-rights groups are seeking a federal review of public school education in Texas, accusing state school administrators of violating federal civil-rights laws as a result of social studies curriculum changes approved earlier this year by the Texas Board of Education.

The request to the U.S. Department of Education (ED), made by the Texas NAACP and Texas League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on Dec. 20, contended that the social studies curriculum changes passed in May “were made with the intention to discriminate” and would have a “stigmatizing impact” on African-American and Latino students.

“The State of Texas is failing to provide many of its minority students with equal educational opportunities,” said the documents sent to ED.

The request, signed by Gary Bledsoe, president of the state NAACP, and Joey D. Cardenas Jr., state director of Texas LULAC, asked that implementation of the social studies curriculum changes and new standardized tests be stopped for being racially or ethnically offensive or historically inaccurate.

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Besides the curriculum complaint, the two civil-rights groups accused the state, the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Board of Education of “miseducation” of minority students, disparate discipline for minority students, using accountability standards to impose sanctions on schools with high numbers of minority students, and rules leading to underrepresentation of minorities in gifted and talented school programs.

Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Suzanne Marchman said the complaint was being reviewed but had no immediate comment. Gail Lowe, chair of the Texas Board of Education, said she was aware of the filing “but I don’t know the specific nature of any allegations or problems they allege.”

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