Texas education board endorses nixing figures like Hillary Clinton, keeping Moses

Texas education board endorses nixing figures like Hillary Clinton, keeping Moses
Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 15:30:35-04

(RNN) – If you’re a Texas high school student, your curriculum could soon be missing some familiar historical figures.

The state education board has been considering revisions to its curriculum standards, known as TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), a process that has included recommendations on whether to keep hundreds of figures and events in the school plan.

Those recommendations notably included striking references to prominent women such as Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as Helen Keller from the elementary school curriculum.

A preliminary vote was held by the board on many of those recommendations last week, and according to The Dallas Morning News the board approved removing Clinton and Keller.

Some military figures - including George Patton, George Marshall, and Omar Bradley – and a whole section about entrepreneurs including Bill Gates and Estée Lauder were recommended for elimination.

The group recommended striking Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association from another section about the “conservative resurgence of the 1980s.

It was unclear how the board voted on other figures.

Papers in the state, including The News and The Austin American-Statesman, reported that the board voted to retain the biblical Moses in a section on “individuals whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding documents” and a line that references “how Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict.”

The working group making the recommendations compiled a chart of historical figures in the various curricula, and gave them scores to determine their significance and suitability for remaining.

That chart graded Clinton, Roosevelt, Winfrey, and the suffragist Frances Willard as “not necessary.” It affirmed the importance of other women such as justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor and activists Jane Addams and Dolores Huerta.

Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential nominee for 1964, was cut from the same section as Clinton, one referencing “the contributions of significant political and social leaders in the United States.”

One of the teachers on the working group, Misty Matthews, told The News that they “tried to make it as objective as possible” with so many historical figures to assess.

Another, Jana Poth, told the paper they did “not want to offend anyone.”

The state board has been scrutinized in the past, including for its continued injection of counterarguments to evolution in the science curriculum and for its contentious textbook approval process.

“We applaud the majority of the State Board of Education for doing the right thing by restoring our foundational rights and history,” the president of the conservative group Texas Values, Jonathan Saenz, told The News.

Dan Quinn, of the liberal Texas Freedom Network, countered to The American-Statesman that “board members are once again rejecting the advice of teachers and scholars and rewriting the standards to promote their personal beliefs, not historical fact and truth.”

Clinton and Winfrey were among dozens of people originally added to the curriculum during a wide-ranging overhaul in 2010.

Teachers can still use their discretion to teach about them and other historical figures.

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