Quantcast
Connect with us

Conservatives’ plan for Texas history classes: Fewer civil, more God

Published

on

A battle is being fought in Texas this week over the future of the state’s social studies curriculum, with Christian conservatives pushing the state’s educators to reduce the prominence of civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and “support measures to strengthen teaching of Texas’ and America’s Christian heritage.”

Some 4.8 million Texas students will learn from the curriculum being debated, but the impact of the committee’s decisions could be far broader than that. As AP’s April Castro notes, Texas is one of the largest states in the US, and publishers often adjust their textbooks to reflect the Texas curriculum. Thus, Texas’ decision could affect what American students learn in history classes nationwide.

ADVERTISEMENT

Socially conservative voices have gained powerful voices on the State Board of Education. Last summer, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Gail Lowe, a newspaper editor and avowed creationist, to head the board. Lowe had earlier said that “biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution must be rejected by the board.”

“Some board members and the non-expert ideologues they appointed to a review panel have made it clear that they want students to learn that the founding fathers intended America to be an explicitly Christian nation with laws based on their own narrow interpretations of the Bible,” the AP quoted Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network.

Among the more controversial conservative appointees to the state’s curriculum committees was Bill Ames, a former IBM executive who late last year penned an article entitled “The Left’s War on US History,” in which he accuses other members of the State Board of Education of being planted in their positions by liberal groups.

The Dallas Morning News reports that an email campaign has been launched “to sway Republican board members who are not part of the panel’s social conservative bloc urged them to resist ‘extreme left wing ideology’ reflected in the proposal curriculum standards and ‘support measures to strengthen teaching of Texas’ and America’s Christian heritage’.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Leading the effort to combat the social conservatives on the board is the Texas Freedom Network, which has allied itself with a number of religious leaders who are arguing for a clear separation of church and state in the Texas curriculum.

“The instruction of religious faith, discipleship and a life of service — one shaped by devotion and piety — is the responsibility of each faith community, whether church, synagogue or mosque,” the Houston Chronicle quoted the Rev. Marcus McFaul, senior pastor at Highland Park Baptist Church in Austin. “It is the responsibility of parents and parishes, not public schools.”

Board member David Bradley, whom the Chronicle describes as “a leader of the board’s seven social conservative members,” rejected the religious leaders’ arguments, saying “I listen to my own pastor.” Bradley told the newspaper “there will be efforts (by board members making amendments) to preserve, protect and strengthen America’s godly heritage.”

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the many flashpoint issues being fought at the curriculum board appears to have been settled at this point, with labor leader Cesar Chavez retaining his place in the Texas curriculum, according to the Associated Press.

Board chair Lowe had argued that Chavez “lacks the stature … and contributions” to be included in the curriculum and should not “be held up to our children as someone worthy of emulation.” But Lowe said ahead of Wednesday’s hearing that Chavez would remain in the curriculum.

The United Farm Workers of America — the group Chavez helped to create — recently said that conservative board members are worried about “overrepresentation of minorities” in the current social studies curriculum.

ADVERTISEMENT

More than 130 people have signed up to speak at a hearing in Austin Wednesday of the State Board of Education’s curriculum committee, which will hold a preliminary vote Thursday on the shape of the state’s social studies classes for the next decade.

Brian Thevenot at the Texas Tribune argues that the board has enough social conservatives to heavily influence the Texas curriculum.

And so a fifteen-member elected board dominated by social conservatives, few of them educators, will once again decide what will and won’t be taught in Texas public schools. Their influence will be magnified exponentially, as usual, because the content of textbooks in the lucrative Texas market drives what publishers peddle in other states.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They’ve got the votes,” Thevenot quotes board member Pat Hardy. “You never know. Fasten your seat belt.”

(Editor’s Note: Headline and first paragraph mistakenly reported conservatives were pushing against Latinos instead of civil rights leaders)

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

‘It’s basic, basic, basic’: Liz Plank hilariously mocks Trump’s reality show behavior as recession looms

Published

on

President Donald Trump is distracting from the potential of his reality TV show behavior an MSNBC guest explained on Tuesday.

"The Beat" host Ari Melber reported, "the Trump Administration first pushing back on the criticism they have no plan for a recession. Emergency tax cuts is now something they’re offering or maybe rolling back Trump’s tariffs. And these reports, if nothing else, they concede there could be a downturn. This is important. Trump’s allies in the press have found some bizarre ways to spin the jitters claiming it’s rich coastal elites who want to lose money in a recession."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Plutonium found in Colorado soil at five times higher level than acceptable radioactive level

Published

on

Why is there plutonium in the soil of a national wildlife refuge that is five times higher than the rate that demands a "clean up?" It's a question Colorado state health officials are examining Tuesday after their soil sample readings showed 264 picocuries-per-gram found in Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

The Denver Post reported the findings of the radioactive substance, but toxicologists at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said they don't believe "there is an immediate public health threat."

Continue Reading
 

CNN

Trump supporters are furious about Trump’s anti-Semitic comment because now they can’t criticize Democrats anymore: CNN correspondent

Published

on

President Donald Trump continues to suffer fallout from his anti-Semitic claim on Tuesday that Jewish Democrats are guilty of "great disloyalty."

As CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins noted on "The Situation Room," he is even facing blowback from his own party — which spent months trying to paint Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as rabid anti-Semites for far less.

"He's ... being criticized by people on both sides of the aisle for this comment," said Collins. "Not just the president's usual critics who don't like things that he says or say he oversteps the line, but people who are on his side are saying, by making this comment, he doesn't realize why they have been critical of people like Rashida Tlaib, like Ilhan Omar for their in the past."

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image