Texas textbook standards raise more controversy

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 12:52pm

In May 2010, the State Board of Education developed a new Social Studies curriculum for Texas schools. Some lawmakers say they're not willing to shell out millions of dollars for books that are this controversial.

The Fordham Institute--a conservative group from Ohio--gave the new Texas social studies standards a "D" grade. They tell us most states have political bias in books from the left, but in Texas, they say it is heavily from the right.

"Political bias-- whether it's from the left or right-- has no place in history standards," says one Fordham Institute representative.

Under the new curriculum, Texas books would call the U.S. a "constitutional republic" rather than a "democratic state." Also, the students will learn about leading conservative individuals and groups, but will not be required the same for liberal groups. Perhaps the most controversial, the books will not recognize the phrase "separation of church and state" as constitutional.

Kathleen Porter-Magee with Fordham Institute says, "We have a history of separation of church and state, and they didn't address it. It needs to be addressed to students so they can really understand our history."

Bob Craig, Vice Chair for the State Board of Education, says, "The separation of church and state was not mentioned directly in the constitution." Craig says under the new curriculum, students will "examine the reasons the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed it free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." He says they will compare and contrast this sentence to the phrase "separation of church and state."

Craig says although he voted for the new standards, he did voice concern that the board may be politicizing certain things too much.

You can find more details here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20100521-Texas-State-...


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