Texas Professor: SBOE, Texas Social Studies Criticism “Overblown” & “False”

Apr 27, 2010
Topic: Update

WALL STREET JOURNAL OPINION: APRIL 27, 2010

Is Texas Messing With History? Criticisms of the state’s proposed new school curriculum are overblown. By DAVID UPHAM

For several months, the elected members of the Lone Star State’s board of education have considered extensive revisions to the state’s K-12 social studies curriculum. After months of efforts, the board’s conservative majority tentatively approved a new curriculum in March, and on April 15 the board published its proposal, which it may adopt after allowing 30 days for public comment.

The comment has been vocal. Critics in Texas and across the nation have decried the changes as educational malpractice, with news reports characterizing them as “historically inaccurate” and reflecting “far right” bias. The board allegedly expunged Thomas Jefferson, minimized constitutional safeguards for religious freedom, and ignored the struggles of women and minorities for civil rights. A letter signed by several historians at the Universities of Texas at Austin and El Paso claimed the board “undermined the study of the social sciences in our public schools by misrepresenting and even distorting the historical record.” Newsweek ridiculed the “Texas Curriculum Massacre.”

Despite the allegations, however, no one has pointed to a particular significant error of fact. My own review of the proposed curriculum did not reveal anything plainly false, and the oft-repeated accusations of outrageous omission are demonstrably false. The board did not excise Thomas Jefferson, downplay constitutional religious freedom, or minimize the role of women and minorities. On the contrary, the curriculum is replete with specific references to Jefferson, religious freedom, the civil rights movement, and the achievements and struggles of women and minorities.

Click here to read the full article. WSJ Texas Social Studies Opinion

EMAIL US AT: legislative@libertyinstitute.org if you want to testify at the May 19th State Board of Education hearing in Austin.  We can help prepare you for this meeting.

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