The Texas Board of Education has voted to remove Hillary Clinton from the social studies curriculum for the state’s public schools, but children will continue to learn about how Moses allegedly influenced the founding of the United States.
The board said the amendments were part of an effort to “streamline” public school learning plans, and that “work groups” recommended removing Clinton (as well as Helen Keller) from a section on the contributions of American leaders.
High schoolers have been required to learn about Clinton, who was the first woman to win a major political party’s presidential nomination, in history class. Under a section about citizenship, students were assigned to “evaluate the contributions of significant political and social leaders in the United States” including Clinton, Andrew Carnegie, Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor.
Barry Goldwater was also removed from this teaching requirement. A work group tasked with the curriculum streamlining also recommended removing evangelist and Baptist pastor Billy Graham, but the state board kept him.
So the first woman to win a major political party’s presidential nomination (as well as a former First Lady, former Secretary of State, and former senator) gets cut… but the preacher who advised a bunch of presidents (and agreed with Richard Nixon‘s anti-Semitic remarks) gets to stay?
Where’s the logic in that?
The Religious Right version of history becomes even more pronounced when you look at what else the State Board kept. The work group reportedly recommended the deletion of references to “biblical law” and Moses in discussions about the formation of the country in high school government classes… but those suggestions were ignored.
The board also voted to keep in the curriculum a reference to the “heroism” of the defenders of the Alamo, which had been recommended for elimination, as well as Moses’ influence on the writing of the nation’s founding documents, multiple references to “Judeo-Christian” values and a requirement that students explain how the “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Middle East.
This isn’t about streamlining the curriculum. It’s about giving kids the David Barton version of American History, which is light on facts and heavy on supposed Christian influence. They want to remove references to important liberals while keeping references to biblical propaganda. (To be clear, teachers can always bring up Clinton in the classroom, but it would no longer be mandatory.)
The good news is that this vote was only temporary. The final vote is in November, and changes can be made before then… but the bad news is that there’s no reason to think any changes will be made.
Barbara Cargill, a Republican board member from Houston and former chairwoman, said work groups recommended removing Clinton and Keller, and the board agreed.
“In speaking to teachers and testifiers, they did not mention these specific deletions,” she said.
The recommendations from work groups gave the board cover to remove what they wanted to, but they can’t be that important since the board rejected so many notes on religious topics. This is further politicization of a state’s public school system — similar to what the same board did, famously, with the science curriculum more than a decade ago.
All of this puts children in Texas at even more of a disadvantage in the future. Colleges may be reluctant to accept Texas students whose knowledge of history is subpar compared to that of kids from other states. Maybe Texans can raise enough of a fuss about these proposed changes that they don’t become permanent… but it’s hard to imagine this board of education swayed by the people they’re supposed to represent.
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