Texas textbook battle may end on Friday

Texas textbooks

Credit: WFAA

Texas textbook battle may end on Friday

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM

Almost two years of often-heated debate over the content of new Texas textbooks comes to an end on Friday.  That's when the State Board of Education votes on changes that will be made to social studies textbooks.

The proposed changes — championed by a conservative majority on the board — will stay in place over the next ten years and will affect what children are taught in many other states as well.

But what are the proposed revisions that have so many people so upset?

  • Students would be required to learn about the “unintended consequences” of affirmative action and Title IX. They would have to learn about the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.
     
  • In American History, they would learn about conservative heroes and icons, such as Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority.
     
  • The word "capitalism" would be replaced with the phrase "free enterprise."
     
  • And any references to “slave trade” would be renamed “Atlantic triangular trade.”

Conservatives say the changes are long overdue. They claim current standards deemphasize religion and cater more toward liberal views.

Critics say this is an attempt to push conservative philosophy into public schools.

Board of Education member Don McLeroy proposed even more changes at Thursday’s meeting: Students would be required to discuss alternatives to Social Security and Medicare, based on the decreasing number of workers and increasing number of retirees.

McLeroy also wants to change what Texas students learn about Sen. Joseph McCarthy's attempts to identify communists in the 1950s, putting McCarthy in a more favorable light.

There are four million children in the Texas public school system, making it the second-largest market for textbooks in the country. As a result, changes to Texas' curriculum are likely to have an impact well beyond the state's borders.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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