Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Wrapping up the SBOE social studies debate

Apparently, the debate over the new social studies standards went on so long that the SBOE decided to put the rest of it off till March, meaning the final adoption will be in May. If only they could push it even farther back, say till 2011 or so. Anyway, take it away, TFN.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller pointed at the blatant politicization of social studies curriculum standards today as yet more evidence that the Legislature must act to protect the education of Texas schoolchildren.

“When partisan politicians take a wrecking ball to the work of teachers and scholars, you get a document that looks more like a party platform than a social studies curriculum,” Miller said. “The video archive of this week’s meeting would be a great primer for parents and lawmakers on how politics is undermining the education of Texas schoolchildren.”

Texas lawmakers in the last legislative session failed to pass any reforms that would rein in the board’s authority over curriculum and textbooks.

On Thursday and today, the state board moved to gut a year’s worth of work by teachers and scholars who drafted new curriculum standards for Texas public schools. Among the actions the board took this week:

– The board accepted an amendment that suggests McCarthyist smear tactics in the 1950s were justified.

– The board adopted a standard that specifically promotes the views of conservative icons such as Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association, while deliberately ignoring progressive political figures.

– The board removed a specific requirement that students learn about the efforts of women and ethnic minorities to gain equal rights, replacing it with vague language about “various groups.”

– Board conservatives won approval for a variety of proposals that would promote partisan political positions on the role of government and taxation.

– The board even removed the concepts of justice and the common good from a list of characteristics of good citizenship.

On Thursday and Friday the state board debated and amended draft curriculum standards for Grades K-8 social studies classes and high school U.S. history. Board members voted today to postpone debate on other high school standards until March. That means the board will not be able to take a final vote on adopting new social studies curriculum standards until May.

You can read their final liveblogs here and here, along with the Trib’s reporting here, here, and here. We can’t vote some of these idiots out fast enough, that’s all I can say.

Related Posts:


  1. Dennis says:

    “We can’t vote some of these idiots out fast enough, that’s all I can say”. Except that we keep passing up the chance. Last time around, my own SBOE member, theocrat and wing nut extraordinaire David Bradley faced a very competent and capable Democratic challenger. She lost. Republican straight ticket voting is how these buffoons stay in office. The Religious Right figured that strategy out a long time ago and it has been successfully employed on boards of education around the country. Figure out how to make voters pay attention to who they are actually voting for and things might begin to change. I ain’t gonna hold my breath on that one.

  2. […] time, because here they come again, to finish off the social studies textbook standards that they deferred from January. A three-day meeting beginning Wednesday is the first since voters in last week’s Republican […]