State Board of Education member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, is circulating new changes he wants to make to proposed social studies curriuclum standards for Texas public schools. We didn’t think next week’s state board meeting on the standards could get any worse than what happened in March. But McLeroy’s proposed new changes have disabused us of that hopeful thought. We just issued the following press release:
New changes a Texas State Board of Education member wants to make to proposed curriculum standards represent a stunning rewrite of American history on issues ranging from religious freedom to civil rights and would politicize public school classrooms, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.
“Even at the eleventh hour, board members are trying to rewrite history and promote political agendas in our kids’ classrooms,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “The education of our schoolchildren should be based on the work of academic experts and scholars, not the political biases and fringe ideas of dentists, realtors and other politicians on the state board.”
Don McLeroy, a Republican board member from College Station, has circulated to board colleagues changes he plans to recommend next week when the board resumes debate over proposed new curriculum standards for social studies. Among the changes McLeroy wants to make:
· Add a standard to the eighth-grade U.S. history course that maintains separation of church and state was not the intent of the Founders who drafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights: “Contrast the Founders’ intent relative to the wording of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, with the popular term ‘Separation of church and state.’”
· Strike from a standard in the high school U.S. history course a 1948 court decision, Delgado v. Bastrop ISD, that barred segregation of students of Mexican descent in Texas public schools. McLeroy proposes replacing that decision with 2009 Supreme Court employment discrimination decision involving white firefighters in Connecticut (Ricci v. DeStefano) and a 2005 decision dealing with the government’s powers of eminent domain (Kelo v. City of New London).
· Change a high school U.S. history standard to downplay the positive impact of Progressive Era reforms and suggest that the work of the era’s reformers like Upton Sinclair, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. DuBois created a negative portrayal of America.
· Add a standard to high school U.S. history requiring students to “evaluate efforts by global organizations to undermine U.S. sovereignty.”
· Add a standard to high school U.S. history having students “discuss alternatives regarding long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio.”
Proposed changes like these make it even more important that the board delay a final vote on the standards and appoint a panel of real academic experts and classroom teachers to review changes board members have made since January, Miller said.