Last week, the State Board of Education chose to delay the Social Studies TEKS revision, wasting $200,000 of state funds allocated to workgroups while silencing the voices of our communities. Flooded with misinformation, overwhelmed by public testimony from a small, extremist group of testifiers who opposed an inclusive curriculum, the Board bowed to pressure and failed to do its job.
On Tuesday Aug. 30, the Board voted to delay the TEKs debate until 2025, forcing some Democrats on the board to protest the decision with their absence. The Board’s decision provoked an immediate reaction from advocates. Texas Freedom Network led its coalition partners and parents in condemning the decision at a press conference the next day. Two members of the Board, Members Aicha Davis and Marisa Perez-Diaz, joined the press conference, hoping to change their colleagues’ minds before their Friday meeting.
On Friday Sept. 2, the Board took a final vote. In order to ensure the labor of the workgroup wouldn’t go to waste, Perez-Diaz had proposed the current drafts be used as an alternative starting point for new drafts, rather than having the Board contract a new workgroup to work from scratch. The Democrats and one courageous Republican didn’t have the votes required for it to pass.
Ultimately, Republicans on the Board were more interested in delaying further work on the TEKS. With every inch Democrats conceded in the hopes of changing Republican minds, their Republican colleagues shifted the goal posts because they had already decided to postpone the work by a few years. With members voting firmly along party lines, the motion to delay further work on the social studies overhaul passed with the Republican majority favoring a delay.
This means that the Board will make small tweaks to the existing drafts to ensure compliance with state curriculum requirements, but Texas school children will have to wait at least three years for revised social studies standards that acknowledge the diversity in our classrooms and the experiences of diverse communities who helped shape our state’s history.
The last major revisions happened in 2010. As a concerned parent remarked during the press conference, a lot of things have changed in the world since 2010. It is shameful that public school children and their teachers are stuck with standards that fail to teach the truth and address the experiences of diverse communities for the next few years because some board members lacked the courage and morality to do the right thing for all Texans.
This is the third time Republicans on the State Board of Education have rejected the recommendations of scholars and teachers tasked with drafting the new standards—we saw this happen in 2010 and 2018. Now we’re here again in 2022. In each instance, the Board chose to prioritize political agendas over the education of Texas students.
Our students need each and every one of us in the fight for honest, accurate education. You can join our Teach the Truth movement to stay updated on actions happening in your area and learn more about how to organize at your local school board.