Board Considering Revisions to Social Studies Standards That Currently Downplay Slavery, Cast Doubt on Civil Rights, Distort Religious History
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2018
Scholars, religious leaders and other concerned Texans today are calling on the State Board of Education to correct widespread historical inaccuracies in social studies curriculum standards the deeply politicized board adopted in 2010.
“The State Board of Education should focus on teaching the truth,” said Carisa Lopez, political director of the Texas Freedom Network. “Board members eight years ago played politics with the education of Texas kids, rewriting history to promote their personal beliefs in our public schools. The board this year should keep politics out and put education first.”
Lopez spoke today at a board hearing on proposed revisions to the standards that guide instruction in the state’s public schools. Teams of teachers and scholars have been working on the revisions since the spring, a process the board is calling a “streamlining.” On Wednesday the board will begin debating and amending those proposed revisions.
Even conservative reviewers have called the current standards a politicized distortion of history. Among the problems, the current standards:
- Deliberately downplay the central role of slavery in causing the Civil War and glorify Confederate heroes
- Suggest that there were negative consequences from civil rights gains
- Claim that Moses from the Bible was a major influence on our nation’s founding documents
- Suggest that separation of church and state isn’t a key constitutional protection for religious freedom
- Portray international treaties as anti-American
Lamontria Edwards, a student at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, warned that the standards do an especially poor job covering African-American history, including the central role of slavery in causing the Civil War.
“The curriculum standards that guide what we learn in our public school classrooms don’t teach enough and don’t teach the truth,” said Edwards, a member of TFN’s Texas Rising program for young adults ages 18-29.
The proposed revisions from the official curriculum teams correct a number of distortions and inaccuracies. TFN’s Lopez urged the board not to repeat 2010’s politicized rewrite of proposed drafts from curriculum teams that year.
“It should be shocking that our state’s curriculum standards mislead students like this,” Lopez said. “This year the board should respect the work of the teachers who have spent months working to improve these standards and ensure that what kids learn in Texas public schools is based on factual history, not politics.”
The board will hold a second debate and final vote on the proposed revisions in November.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that supports public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.