Texas Social Studies Hearing Today-Live Blogging!

Click here to see our talking points for the November 2009 SBOE Hearing on this issue. Social Studies TEKS testimony November

10:00 p.m. Local educator testifying, she is concerned about the TEKS looking “politically correct” and globalization language.

9:40 p.m.-Just finished testifying, got to make most of my points.  See points discussed below to basically see what i talked about.  A few questions.  Good exchange with SBOE member Mavis Knight.  We don’t always agree, but i enjoy interacting with her because she asks very sharp questions, and often helps clear up any misconceptions that exist.

8:40 p.m.  Member of the Sikh religion is testifying, asking to be added to the TEKS in two places in World History, and 6th grade Social Studies, to be listed as one of the religions who has a religious holiday listed.  She mentioned that Sikhism is the 5th largest world religion.  Maybe by raw numbers, but by percentage, Sikhism makes up approxiamately 0.35% – 0.40% of world religion numbers.

8:26 p.m. Social Studies, now about to begin!  Bill Ames is testifying, he claims he was only non-educator and conservative on the U.S. History curriculum writing team.  He is basically listing general concepts and not specific.

SBOE member Knight asked for a definition of revisionist  history-History not based on a uniform standard that is based on a quota system.

SBOE member Knight and Bill Ames engage in a back and forth.

7:38 p.m.-Sorry again.  Still waiting for them to complete voting on the amendments for Agenda Item # 9.  By the way, if you like our work, please consider signing up for our weekly email alert!-www.freemarket.org/Default.aspx?Page=50151255-bff0-40af-ae75-e7ee7a6048d8

6:55 p.m.-Sorry, the SBOE is now voting on amendments for Agenda Item #9, which is taking a while.  Social Studies is up next.

6:15 p.m.  Social Studies starts in 15 minutes.  First, SBOE member Mary Helen Berlanga, is taking a personal privilege and reading a letter from the Mexican-American Caucus, to express concern about Latinos in Social Studies.

Let me make something very clear.  Any criticism of the proposed changes and content of the proposed new TEKS should primarily by placed on the appointed curriculum writing team members.  Now, we do recognize that these persons were appointed by the SBOE members, these writing teams members have already had to be reigned in because they drastically exceeded their authority when they first dumped the entire Social Studies TEKS, and started over with curriculum standards provided by the liberal Texas Council on Social Studies. http://www.texasinsider.org/?p=8341

5:57 p.m.-Almost there for Social Studies-by the way, there is a particular section where students were previously required to “summarize the rights guaranteed in the Texas Bill of Rights.”  The update version of proposed language has changed this section to say “identify rights of Texas citizens”.  This leaves a teacher with no defined criteria for “rights” and will send the message to kids that they decided what their “rights” are, instead of the Texas Constitution.

5:35-Still waiting for Social Studies to come up.  Additional note, Albert Einstein is still eliminated from the World History curriculum, where he was once taught for the past 10 years, at least.  He was eliminated along with Sir Isaac Newton, and Louis Pasteur.

Also, Columbus Day is back in, but it we eliminated in the previous draft of proposed changes.

4:43-still on Agenda Item #9. our testimony will also point out other  strange and outrageous suggestions for changes made by the writing teams.  One example is the treatment of Christopher Columbus.  He has been reduced to just one specific mention, in addition to the mention of “Columbus Day.”  He was actually mentioned specifically one other time before the writing teams recently eliminated him from 4th grade.

So currently, Mary Kay Ash is mentioned just as often as Columbus.   I am sure there is value to having students know about the achievement of Mary Kay, but the point is Columbus and others are being reduced, and eliminated in some places, to a less significant role in the curriculum, and then replaced with others.  If there is an interest to add new persons, that can be understandable.

But do we need to eliminate Neil Armstrong, while we add the person Wallace Amos?


3:26-There are many issues we will be blogging about, which  will probably be broader than our 3 minute testimony.  First of all, we have reviewed the updated revisions of the TEKS for Social Studies, as recommended by curriculum writing team members, not SBOE members.

In regards to  Christmas, it has been restored/returned to the TEKS where it had been for at least 10 years before a “writing team” proposed removing it.  However, this same writing team has also added to the list of religious holidays and observances, for Islam-“the annual hajj”, and for Sikhism-“Vaisakhi.”

3:20 p.m. Just completed local TV interview on the Social Studies issue.  SBOE is now on Agenda Item #9, Social Studies is next!

2:11 p.m. – State Rep. Norma Chavez is now addressing the SBOE.  The SBOE has not officially started discussing the issue of Social Studies, but it appears they have allowed Rep. Chavez to speak now as a courtesy. She is concerned about her reading of the TEKS and the amount of Latinos, or lack their of, in her opinion, in the TEKS.

She has specifically stated that she serves on the House Appropriations Committee in the State Legislature

12:56 p.m.-SBOE is breaking for lunch until 1:30 p.m.

11:38 a.m.  The Social Studies issue is Agenda Item #10, and the State Board of Education (SBOE) is currently on Agenda item #4, so check back after lunch for an update.

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