State Board of Education Pulls Reins on “Radical” Curriculum Group

By James Bernsen – Texas Republic News

Social Studies curriculum group had tossed out traditional American history to make room for left-leaning agenda

The Texas State Board of Education on Wednesday came down with a reprimand on its social studies curriculum working group after a draft proposal of the group’s new curriculum came to light showing a series of far-left changes that education bureaucrats wanted to install in place of the traditional Texas social studies curriculum.

The SBOE made it clear that such an extreme departure from the historic curriculum would not be accepted and that the state board would ensure better oversight of the volunteer curriculum board in the future.

When the board is charged with re-writing curriculum guidelines known as TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), it delegates the authority to a working group made up of volunteers. These are selected based on applications to the board and are generally supposed to include both educators and members of the public. When the board appointed the working group for revising social studies curriculum for Kindergarten through 12, however, it was overwhelmingly dominated by educators with few citizens.

“I was one of only two non-educators among 50 people in the room,” said Peter Morrison, a citizen from Lumberton who served on the board.

“Radical” Agenda
The working group, rather than starting with the existing TEKS and updating them, instead threw the entire existing curriculum aside, adopting instead some guidelines in line with those of the National Council for Social Studies and its affiliate, the Texas Council for Social Studies. Although these groups include much of traditional American values in their curriculum recommendations, they generally add in left-leaning and minority historical figures and concepts into the mix.

But the committees clearly went beyond just adding in a few minorities. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Brooke Terry obtained a list of the recommendations. Among them:

First grade:
• In the section on holidays, customs, and celebrations, it removes Independence Day and Veterans’ Day.
• In the section on holidays, customs, and celebrations, it removes anthems and mottoes of Texas and the United States.
• In the list of character traits of good citizenship, it removes “a belief in justice and truth.”
• Removes the Liberty Bell from the list of patriotic symbols.

Third Grade
• Removes references to Daniel Boone, Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and Robinson Crusoe.
• Adds many new names including: Grace Hopper, Margaret Knight, Quanah Parker, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Maya Lin, Maya Angelou, Sandra Cisneros, Kadir Nelson, Jean Pinkey, Angela Shelf Medear, Elisabet Ney, Carmen Lomas Garza, and Bill Martin.
 Fourth Grade
• Removes the suggested selection of a children’s biography of Stephen F. Austin.

High School
• Removes John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and English common law.
• In the section on economics, changes the phrase “free enterprise system” to “capitalist system.”
• In the section on science, technology, and society, removes the reference to the private sector as helping improve consumer products and only mentions government-assisted research.
• In the section on science, technology, and society, replaces the phrase “analyze how policies fostering competition and entrepreneurship have resulted in scientific discoveries and technological innovations” with the “U.S. Constitution protects scientific discoveries and technological innovations.”

“Dead White Guys”
Far more troublesome for members of the board – and not just conservatives but moderates and liberals – was the tone of the working group’s meetings. Morrison testified that Presidents Eisenhower and Roosevelt were dismissed by the working group members as “dead white guys.”

“They did this with the implication that we not have too many of those types retained, and certainly not more added,” he said.

SBOE member Barbara Cargill took offense.

“I’m offended that some of the greatest historical figures of our time were referred to as ‘dead white guys,’” she said. Member Lawrence Allen, who is African-American, agreed that such comments were out of place.

“That type of behavior should not be tolerated in any form,” he admonished.

Member Ken Mercer added, “If there are any members who have a problem with that, I think there are a lot of volunteers we can replace them with.”

Representatives of the working group did not dispute the report on TEKS changes, but said that the curriculum change was just a draft and by no means represented their final decision. Cargill said that the working group’s actions were troubling, and that the starting point for new curriculum should be old curriculum. 

SBOE members agreed that they shared some of the blame for not giving “structure” to the working group, and agreed to revise the current system. Currently, an expert panel weighs in on the final report of the working group. Most SBOE members expressed the opinion that the expert panel should be consulted earlier in the process to provide input.

“We’ll be watching the TEKS writing at every step of the way,” Cargill said. 

Another concern was the lack of ordinary citizen participation. Cargill suggested that board members contact the Texas Association of School Boards to recruit citizens to provide the balance needed to full-time educators.

14 comments

  1. David Barton uses primary resources…I’m not sure how you can disagree with such documents as the Federalist Papers and the handwritten letters between the founders and their wives.

    There is no middle of the road…there is truth and there is revisionist history. I think it is pretty clear that revisionist history is at play here.

    Conspiracy theory? It’s not theory, it’s fact. William Ayers abandoned planting bombs in favor of penetrating schools with his ideology. He is now one of the most influential people in teaching schools due to his publications, texts and teaching seminars for social justice.

    Just visit a website called http://www.rethinkingschools.com and get an eyeful there of all the ideas on how to incorporate ACORN stats with your math lessons to get the children to think in terms of “social justice”.

    Why did so many vote for Obama among the age group 19-30? They overwhelmingly cite social justice concerns of Barack Obama. So, he is speaking their language.

  2. You all are being brainwashed by the media. Stephen F. Austin is not being replaced by Maya Angelou; one out of date book is being replaced by another in one grade level, and an example of a poet is being added in another. You are comparing apples and oranges. Please make the effort to find out the facts before you slander and libel the VOLUNTEERS who are working on this committee.

  3. I’ll keep my comments very short, because most of my thoughts have been expressed by other writers.

    I, too, thank the SBOE for their actions. The rewriting of history (actaully telling of lies) should be stopped by all.

    Too, many who think they are educated, have actually been indoctrinated and brainwashed by lieing liberals (socialists).

  4. Visions of George Orwell’s book 1984. It will happen if we are not diligent both on state as well as national level.

  5. What does the religious faith (or even any lack thereof) of his parents have to do with Marx and Texas Education?

    So Charles was (or is) a “Social Science” major. He’s also obviously liberal. He can’t resist ad hominem attacks. Since one of his ad hominem attacks is on home schooling parents, he also is most likely an “educator” (what we used to call teachers before the low self esteem of some of them demanded a more “high falutin” title). Oh yes, in a very subtle way he predictably “plays the race card” (…people who cringe at the thought of any minority person being mentioned…”).

    I don’t object to Maya Angelou replacing Stephen F. Austin because she is black, I object because he is an important figure in Texas history and she is a mediocre poet. Angelou would be mentioned in history solely because Bill Clinton (or more likely Hillary) selected her to read one of her poems at his inauguration. Not exactly a sterling historic achievement which deserves memorializing in Texas (or any other state’s) education curriculum. Do we so memorialize any other of the so-called “Poet Laureates” of the US? That would be “No”.

  6. Well, as a social science major in college, I have to admit that I did not like the social studies recommendations of either side. The so-called “leftist” position was kooky in many regards. However, the so-called “rightest” David Barton nonsense is equally kooky. We need a sensible middle road to travel with social studies.

    As for some fo the comments above, some of you are just plain nuts. The “modern-day Marxists.” Let’s all root out the secret conspiracies of the Marxists and socialists hidden among us. Oops!!! There is one under my bed. Mommy!!!!!!!
    Y’all get a life.

    I agree that people like Stephen Austin should not be taken out of the curriculum in favor of three minority people. That is excessive. There should be a sensible balance. However, for those people who cringe at the thought of any minority person being mentioned in a social studies textbook, hop a boat back to wherever your ancestors came from. You are not a real American, and you have no right to be here. I hope you wake up as a negro in the morning.

    Homeschooling? Go ahead. Fill your kid’s heads with lies about American history. If you are so dumb that you cannot even tell the difference between David Barton history and real American history—well—I am not surprised that you are homeschooling.

  7. The modern-day Marxists know all-to-well what Lincoln did:

    The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. —
    Abraham Lincoln

  8. Now, the SBOE has the problem with that house bill 77 passing and taking away the control over the public school fund money , and they also want to replace the Chairman for the SBOE. How are these liberals getting these bills out of committee and then onto the House floor and passed? If we don’t write our Senators now and stop this Democratic liberal take over, we are going to be in the same shape as we are now in the Federal Government, having a bunch of liberals in power.! The Senate is going to vote on keeping Don McLeroy as chairman, and they also must vote on this HB77. This must be stopped. I don’t know what the Republicans were thinking when they removed Craddock as Speaker. At least he could control the Democrats from passing their liberal drivel.

  9. The SBOE needs to get a good grip on this and insure children are taught correct history. This nation was built on the self reliance of individual Americans. I cannot believe they would take away Independence Day and Veterans day, how can this nation’s founding and the men and women who died to protect not be honored!! No wonder people have lost any confidence they might of had in state educators.

    I am sickened by this committee’s attempt to re-write history. I will be informing my Senator and Representative about this, as well as all my neighbors and associates.

  10. what is with these so called “educators” ?
    This only refirms my choice to Home School my children. Put them up against any of the”educators” and it would be disgusting how much knowledge is wated on the teachers.
    Maybe more pay for teachers would reduce idiots from teaching ? ? ?

  11. Left-leaning educational tendencies?? No way–tell us it ain’t so!!

    Please…this is straight out of the Communist Manifesto: “Get ’em young, and raise ’em Left.”

    Agreed on Locke: If you want to insert “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need” in place of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Property,” simply remove Locke. Heck, toss in some random guy who was the son of Jews coverted to Christianity (Marx) for good measure!

  12. To remove John Locke from the curriculum in High School is and absolue travesty. It is the basis of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution along with Natural Law. Obviously, those writing the the curriculum are uneducated themselves or they would know that they were removing the philosophical foundations of our nation. Maybe that’s wnat they want to do. Washington’s beltway is certainly working to do that very thing

  13. Cheers to the State Board of Education. History can not be rewritten nor silenced to fit the warped thinking of those who are trying to change or silence it. The history of this state and nation is what has made this state and nation great.

    The position taken by the State Board Of Education, along with the recent Tea Parties has awoken a sleeping giant, and he ain’t happy.

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