Texas conservatives are revolting over proposed State Board of Education changes that will eliminate teaching the U.S. Constitution and founding principles in some grade levels while including ideologies on white supremacy, LBGT pride, and gender.
Parent groups and conservative groups have mobilized to attend a public hearing at the Texas State Board of Education in Austin Tuesday in opposition to changes that they feel do not accurately reflect the accomplishments of Texas and America. The board could vote on the changes this week.
Left-leaning groups praised the first draft of the social studies curriculums proposed last month as more inclusive and progressive than past education standards.
Melissa Martin, a board member of Innovative Teachers of Texas, a conservative teacher’s group, told The Epoch Times the changes were “disappointing.”
“Texas is an exceptional state, and our students need to learn about our rich Texas history,” she said via text. “Rather than focusing on a globalist agenda, the curriculum should motivate our young Texans to develop into citizens who value family and citizenship of our great state and nation.”
Republican groups sent out a call to action identifying the removal of numerous Texas Education and Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) educational standards about America’s founding principles and the family to be replaced by more liberal ideas aligned with globalism.
Some of the high school level changes include removing “E Pluribus Unum” and “God We Trust” from the U.S. History curriculum.
Significant American government figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan were removed from U.S. Government studies.
A working committee drafting the rules said in notations about the deletion that the standards would be a better fit for middle school or moved into other lessons on executive power concerning government figures.
Other social studies curriculum standards that were part of a draft were just as problematic for critics.
In the 7th Grade, a standard claims that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s practice of federalism influenced the writing of the U.S. Constitution as a nod to diversity inclusion.
However, some scholars have debunked that connection.
The confederacy is also known as the League of the Iroquois, consisting of up to six upstate New York-based Native American tribes.
An 8th Grade standard on the intersectionality of (gay) pride, civil rights, and other movements was included.
The comment section mentioned Angela Davis, who advocates Critical Resistance Theory for abolishing the prison system. Also, Texas Rangers, an elite law enforcement group, were listed as “an instrument of oppression” during the clash between Texas Rangers and Mexican Americans and immigrants during the Mexican Revolution.
On the high school level of World Geography, the new standard included the “Gender Inequality Index” and the “World Happiness Report.”
Various citations of the “history of white supremacy” were included in the middle and high school level, where one standard analyzed the effects of “the New South” on diverse populations including, “sharecropping, convict leasing, Black Codes, white supremacy, and the creation of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Julie Pickren, a Republican running for State Board of Education in District 7, told The Epoch Times the state board sped up the process of deciding the TEKS for the next 12 years.
With more conservatives likely to take seats on the board in January, the process was fast-tracked. Work groups were put in place that produced “woke content,” including the use of the 1619 Project as the foundation of the African American Studies course, she said.
Pickren said other educational standards remove the family and focus on community instead. She noted that other states with conservative governors, such as Florida, Virginia, and South Dakota, have experienced similar moves but stopped them.
State Rep. Steve Toth (R-Woodlands), who championed banning Critical Race Theory in schools, told The Epoch Times the 1619 Project is not historically accurate and prohibited by state law.
“This is a concerted effort, a uniform effort all across the United States,” Toth said.
Potentially six statutes will be violated if the revisions go through, including those required by the Celebrate Freedom law highlighting America’s founding principles and one banning CRT, Pickren added.
Pickren is concerned that if the current board, which includes nine Republicans and six Democrats, passes the new educational standards, there will be no way to correct it.
“The board’s attitude, she said, is to “pass it to see what’s in it.”
Pickren believes the National School Board Association is pushing rewrites of social studies curriculum across the country. The NSBA wrote a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration led to the Justice Department targeting parents speaking out against CRT.
Toth said he intends to fight educational curriculum changes that break Texas law. He called for Texas attorney general Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott to get involved.
State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston), chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus, wrote in a news release Aug. 29 that the proposed changes were unacceptable and, in many cases, illegal.
The release noted that a letter objecting to the changes had been sent to the SBOE.
“The proposed standards also eliminate Texas history as a standalone course, in favor of intertwining Texas history with other historical subjects, in effect watering down our heritage and putting it on the same level as all other cultures,” he wrote.