U.S. History to get a Conservative Bent in Texas Schools
Posted by Melanie Eversley
On Deadline | Jan 18, 2010
Texas high schoolers will learn about conservative groups from the 1980s and 1990s but not about liberal groups or organizations representing minority rights, The Dallas Morning News reports.
The change is a result of U.S. history standards tentatively adopted Friday by the Republican-led State Board of Education. Among topics and individuals that will not be required in history classes and textbooks: the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Hispanic civil rights organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the paper said.
New subjects of study will include the National Rifle Association, the Moral Majority, the Heritage Foundation and Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.
Board member Don McLeroy, a Republican from College Station, told the Morning News that he offered the amendment requiring coverage of conservative groups because history standards were “rife with leftist political periods and events — the populists, the progressives, the New Deal and the Great Society.”
He succeeded in requiring textbooks to present a more positive portrayal of Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, who investigated allegations of communists in the government, the military and Hollywood. His tactics were ultimately repudiated and he was censured by the U.S. Senate.
The board rejected a bid by conservatives to mandate that students be taught about “religious revivals” as a major event leading to the American Revolution.
A proposal to remove hip-hop music from history standards and replace it with country music failed. Board member Mavis Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, told the paper that hip-hop has “impacted our society whether we like it or not.”
A tentative vote was put off until March; a final decision is expected in May. Curriculum standards the board approves will remain in place for the next decade. Although the standards apply only to Texas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes, “the decision has a nationwide impact because publishers develop textbooks based on Texas’ curriculum because of its large student population.”
The board approved a resolution opposing national standards and supporting Republican Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to forgo $700 million in federal stimulus money because it “smacks of a federal takeover of our public schools.”