How bad is it? Washington Monthly features a solid, long story on what is going on in Austin this week and next in Texas social studies standards. I wish that outstanding publication had a much greater circulation.
Once, a guy in a schoolbook storage room was the killer.
Now, the books themselves are becoming dangerous.
You can help. You can testify next week. You can send comments. The Texas Freedom Network can help you be heard.
Please let the State Board of Education know that Texas, and the nation, needs good social studies standards. As we noted last month, it’s time to stand up for education and social studies:
Make Your Voice Heard at January Public Hearing
The process of revising social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools is moving into a critical stage. And a public hearing the board has scheduled for January may be the only opportunity for you to speak out against the far right’s efforts to corrupt standards for history, government and other social studies classes.
The final drafts of the proposed standards prepared by writing teams made up of teachers, academics and other community members are reflective of mainstream academic scholarship in the various subject areas. It is clear that members of these writing teams largely resisted intense political pressure from far right, rejecting attempts to remove key civil rights figures and make other politically motivated revisions. (See the Background section at the bottom of this e-mail for a more detailed account of the politicization of this curriculum process.)
But as with science and language arts, far-right SBOE members are already plotting to undo the work of the writing teams of social studies.
The State Board of Education so far has scheduled only one public hearing on the proposed standards. That hearing is likely to occur either on January 13 or January 14 in Austin.
If you are interested in speaking at the hearing, please click here. TFN will help you register to speak before the board and be an effective voice against efforts to politicize our children’s classrooms.
This may be the only opportunity the board provides for Texans to speak out on the proposed standards. If we are to prevent far-right SBOE members from turning social studies classrooms into tools for promoting political agendas, then it’s critical that the board hears from people like you! Click here to sign up for more information on how to testify in January.
Background on Social Studies Review Process to Date
Earlier this year, TFN exposed and derailed several attempts by the far right to hijack the social studies curriculum revision process. Members of the state board – or their appointees to review panels and writing teams – tried at various times to:
- Remove civil rights champions like César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall from the standards, calling them poor examples of citizenship
- Turn Joseph McCarthy – who discredited himself and dishonored Congress with his infamous Red-baiting smear campaign in the 1950s – into an American hero
- Rewrite history and portray America’s Founders as intending to establish a Christian nation with laws based on a fundamentalist reading of the Bible
Members of the writing teams largely rejected these fringe ideas in the final drafts of the standards they submitted to the board. Chávez and Marshall remain in the curriculum. The American history standards do not whitewash the damaging history of McCarthyism. And under the proposed standards students would still learn that the Founders created a nation in which all people are free to worship – or not – as they choose without coercion or interference by government.
We must ensure that the board adopts curriculum standards that reflect mainstream academic scholarship in social studies. This is vitally important because the results of this decision will be reflected in the next generation of social studies textbooks around the country.