Giving Compass’ Take:
• Jessica Campisi reports that Texas is considering changes to their social studies curriculum including removing Hellen Keller and adding controversial interpretations of middle-eastern history.
• How do these types of changes shape the future of students’ and voters’ political and historical understanding?
• Learn about the role of civil society in civic engagement.
A number of major historical figures, including Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller, could be cut from the K-12 social studies curriculum in Texas’ public schools as the State Board of Education considers “streamlining” efforts following a preliminary vote Friday, The Dallas Morning News reports.
The board discussed other parts of the curriculum, like a reference to the “heroism” of the defenders of the Alamo or a requirement for students to explain how “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Middle East, but nothing is set in stone yet, and the board will hold a final vote in November.
Under this proposal, Texas classrooms would continue using the same textbooks, and teachers could still include the eliminated material in their lessons — they just won’t have to, The Dallas Morning News notes. However, what Texas teaches and what textbooks its teachers use undoubtedly influences the rest of the nation. It’s the second-biggest state in the country, with 5.4 million school children statewide, and some say its massive size has driven the national textbook market, according to the Houston Chronicle.
This isn’t the first or second time Texas has been criticized for the history material it teaches — or doesn’t. In 2010, the Board of Education approved a conservative-leaning social studies curriculum using textbooks that downplayed slavery as the cause of the Civil War, The New York Times reported. A year later, another social studies textbook went viral because it referred to African slaves as immigrant “workers.” And in 2014, several inaccuracies and exaggerations were found in potential history, geography and government textbooks — with one stating that Moses and Solomon inspired American democracy, The Washington Post reported.
Read the full article about social studies curriculum by Jessica Campisi at Education Dive.
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