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Texas education board moves to reinsert Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller into curriculum

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The State Board of Education is meeting this week to finalize changes to social studies curriculum, part of an effort that began 10 months ago in response to teacher feedback that the standards included too much material to cover in a school year.

The Texas State Board of Education backed a motion Tuesday evening to reinsert Hillary Clinton into the state’s 11th-grade U.S. History standards, two months after voting to remove the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee from the state’s curriculum. In a separate action Tuesday, the board backed restoring disability rights advocate Helen Keller to the state’s third-grade social studies curriculum standards.

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Clinton’s deletion from the high school U.S. history curriculum appeared likely to stand Tuesday, as she was not mentioned during the public hearing of the board’s Tuesday meeting. But after a lengthy discussion, the board voted 12-2 to back a motion to reinsert Clinton into the curriculum. A final vote on the issue will come Friday.

In response to a motion by Board Member Erika Beltran, D-Fort Worth, to reinsert Clinton into the standards, fellow Board member Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo, referenced “tons of public comment” that he’d received before Tuesday’s meeting. “I don’t agree, obviously, with her politics,” said Rowley. “I just think she qualifies as significant.“

The state board is meeting this week to finalize the changes to social studies curriculum, part of a streamlining effort that began 10 months ago in response to teacher feedback that the standards included too much material to cover in a school year. Work groups made up of teachers, historians and curriculum experts were tasked with cutting repetitive and unnecessary requirements out of the social studies standards. The board was set to take preliminary votes on the changes Tuesday after an afternoon discussion.

After hours of public testimony Tuesday, the board approved amendments restoring references to Keller and the importance of Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, in World War II.

Gabrielle Caldwell, a 17-year-old deaf-blind student, testified before the board with her mother, Robbie, urging board members to reconsider striking Helen Keller’s name from the standards.

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“Without broad academic knowledge of Helen Keller, deaf-blind students like my daughter cease to exist,” said Robbie Caldwell, a member of the Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas, a disability rights advocacy group for parents of disabled children.

Gabrielle Caldwell, 17 (right), who testified before the State Board of Education on keeping Helen Keller in mandatory curriculum, is shown with her mother, Robbie, on Nov. 13, 2018.
Gabrielle Caldwell, 17 (right), who testified before the State Board of Education on keeping Helen Keller in mandatory curriculum, is shown with her mother, Robbie, on Nov. 13, 2018.  Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune 

After the Caldwells’ testimony, board chair Donna Bahorich was visibly emotional as she thanked them for their presence at the board meeting.Even ahead of the vote to restore Helen Keller to the curriculum, board members were expressing a willingness to reconsider her removal.

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“I’ve lost a lot of sleep about that,” Pat Hardy, a Fort Worth Republican who represents SBOE District 11, told the Tribune earlier Tuesday. “Helen’s back in.”

Jane O’Brien, who described herself as the parent of a child with a learning difference, called Helen Keller “an important reminder for teachers to not underestimate their students.” Texas has a problematic history with regard to disability rights, said O’Brien, referencing the state’s current legal battle with the U.S. Department of Education for decreasing special education funding.

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Lev Parnas’s lawyer declared ‘open war’ on AG Bill Barr during Maddow interview: attorney

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The attorney for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas appears to be using a novel legal strategy, attorney Luppe Luppen explained on Friday.

Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, was interviewed Friday evening by Rachel Maddow, following the day's end of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Luppen, who offers legal analysis on his popular @nycsouthpaw Twitter account, came to a conclusion that seemed to surprise him after watching the interview.

"I’ve never seen a lawyer sit on a cable panel show and make that much news," Luppen wrote.

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Democratic prosecutors wrap up case against Trump

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Democratic prosecutors on Friday wrapped up three days of arguments for seeking Donald Trump's removal from office, as the US president's lawyers prepared to take their turn presenting his defense in the Senate's historic impeachment trial.

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Democrats said they had met the burden of proof as they warned Republicans that Trump would remain a grave danger to the nation if left in office.

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‘Give me a break’: Internet unleashes on ‘snowflakes’ Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for complaint about Schiff

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CNN's Manu Raju revealed after the Senate adjourned that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) audibly disputed Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) quotation of a CBS News report threatening senators.

"She shook her head and said, 'No they didn't. No, that's not true,'" Raju reported.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John Barrasso also said that the report was false.

https://twitter.com/GriffinConnolly/status/1220891285910892544

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