'Slave trade' would become 'Atlantic triangular trade' under new proposals

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Updated Thursday, May 20 at 1:23 PM

One day before the Texas Board of Education is likely to vote on proposed changes for how social studies should be taught in public school classrooms, Texans are no less divided on the issue.

But what exactly are the revisions that are causing such an uproar?

The proposed revisions to the high school curriculum run 42 pages long but it's a few key details that have people all fired up.

Protesters have rallied outside the state capital, angry over proposed changes to social studies text books, while inside, there is only standing-room only, as the Texas State Board of Education hearings continue.

 

Some of the changes they are considering include:

• Slave trade would be renamed Atlantic triangular trade.

• American imperialism would be changed to expansionism.

• Capitalism would be replaced with free enterprise.

Students would also be required to learn about the negative side of Title IX, affirmative action and The Great Society.

They will also study more recent conservative icons, such as Phyllis Schlafly, The Heritage Foundation and The Moral Majority.

Finally, there is a proposal to minimize the role of Thomas Jefferson, who argued for the separation of church and state, and to place more emphasis on how much the Founding Fathers were driven by Christian principles.

Conservative members of the Texas Board of Education favor these changes but critics accuse them of inserting their own personal political agenda.

Unlike in other states, the Texas Board of Education is empowered to set standards, not just vote on them.

With a 1-5 Republican majority, the Board is likely to vote in favor of these changes.

The Dean of Education at SMU, David Chard, said the problem with setting any kind of standards for history is that historical events are always viewed from a personal and cultural perspective and Texans need to understand they've elected a conservative state board of education.

E-mail: cvega@wfaa.com

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