Texas OKs School Textbook Changes
by April Castro Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas State Board of
The ideological debate over the guidelines, which drew intense scrutiny beyond Texas, will be used to teach some 4.8 million Texas students for the next 10 years.
The standards also will be used by textbook publishers who often develop materials for other states based on those approved in Texas, although teachers in the Lone Star state have latitude in deciding which material to teach.
The board took separate votes on standards for high schools and kindergarten through eighth grades. The final vote was 9-5 on each set of standards.
The debate has brought intense attention, including testimony from educators, civil
The ideological dispute contributed to the defeat of one of the board's most outspoken conservatives, Chairman Don McLeroy, in the March state Republican primary.
In final edits leading up to the vote, conservatives rejected language to modernize the classification of historic periods to B.C.E. and C.E. from the traditional B.C. and A.D. They also required that public school students in Texas evaluate efforts by global organizations such as the United
McLeroy offered the amendment on U.S. sovereignty, saying international organizations threatened individual liberty and freedom.
During the monthslong process of creating the guidelines, conservatives successfully strengthened the requirements on teaching the Judeo-Christian influences of America's Founding Fathers and attempted to water down rationale for the separation of church and state.
The standards will refer to the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.
Conservatives say the Texas history curriculum has been unfairly skewed to the left after years of Democrats controlling the board.
Educators have blasted the proposed curriculum for politicizing education. Teachers also have said the document is too long and will force students to memorize lists of names rather than thinking critically.
Members of the board also briefly fought over the meaning of the president's middle name, Hussein. Democrats and a moderate Republican accused conservatives of trying to stir up a needless controversy by proposing to refer to the president with his full name, President Barack Hussein
Obama's name caused him some trouble during the 2008 presidential campaign as some critics tried to use it to cast doubt on his American origin and faith.