Texas board swamped with criticism over curriculum plan

Conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education were defiant May 19 as a parade of critics came before them, most urging a fresh rewrite of new classroom social studies guidelines and a delay of a scheduled vote to adopt them, reports the Associated Press. Critics—including the president of the NAACP, a former U.S. education secretary, and the committee that wrote the draft guidelines being edited by the board—complained that the proposal has become a vehicle for political ideology, has watered down the teaching of the civil rights movement and slavery, and reveals a lack of historical knowledge from the board. The standards will guide how history and social studies are taught to some 4.8 million public school students over the next 10 years. “Of course it’s political,” Republican David Bradley said to one critic who complained that the process was too focused on politics rather than history. “So what’s your solution? Would you support a benevolent dictator?” A record 206 people had signed up to testify at the May 19 hearing. Officials have indicated they’ll proceed with the vote, scheduled for May 21. The standards, which will form the basis of state tests, also could be used by textbook publishers who develop materials nationwide, because Texas is one of the nation’s largest textbook markets…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Texas curriculum vote stirs conflict

The conservative slant that Texas curriculum may take could influence curriculum in other states.
Observers are conflicted as to what effect the conservative slant that Texas's curriculum might take will have in other states.

Some historians are decrying the proposed changes to Texas’s social studies curriculum for next year, saying many of the changes do not accurately reflect United States history.

But the potential injection of conservative ideals into the social studies, history, and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of Texas students for the next decade might not have as much of an effect on the rest of the country’s curriculum as some opponents fear.

“It’s a bit of an urban myth that the Texas curriculum automatically hops state borders. I think the media accounts have been exaggerated,” said Jay Diskey, executive director of the school division for the Association of American Publishers. “Nearly all states expect or require publishers to align to their state standards.”…Read More

Texas debates how history should be taught

Rewriting the history curriculum has become an ideological battleground in Texas.
Rewriting the history curriculum has become an ideological battleground in Texas.

The latest ideological battle over what gets taught in U.S. public schools is being waged in Texas, where the state board of education is considering new classroom standards that will determine how history is taught for the next decade.

Several students, parents, and lawmakers lobbied Jan. 13 for more diversity in Texas’s social studies curriculum, while religious activists are pressing for more emphasis on the role of Christianity in how the nation was formed. The debate could have implications for schools outside the state as well, because Texas is one of the largest textbook markets in the nation.

In more than six hours of public testimony, dozens of people took their chance to help shape the way millions of Texas school children learn topics from the Roman Empire to the entrepreneurial success of billionaire Bill Gates.…Read More