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A Texas-Sized Battle Over Standards

By Bryan Toporek — March 16, 2010 1 min read
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While 48 states and President Obama’s administration are backing a recent draft of common standards for public schools, the Texas Board of Education has opted for a more conservative-leaning route in its standards discussions, according to the New York Times.

Texas was one of two states (along with Alaska) to not back the draft standards released by the Common Core State Standard Initiative. Instead, they’ve already been embroiled in their own social studies standards debates for months.

The state’s 15-member Board of Education has been largely dominated by seven hard-core conservatives in recent years, but voters in recent Republican primaries elected to oust the leader of the conservative faction, Don McElroy. Before McElroy’s term expires in 10 months, he and the other conservatives have sworn that they’ll play a large part in shaping the state’s social studies standards.

The conservatives’ proposed changes to the draft curriculum (which was written by a panel of teachers) include a demand to incorporate “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association,” according to the Times.

Some of the other potential changes include renaming American “imperialism” to “expansionism,” including country and western music as a cultural movement to be studied, and listing Confederate army general Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership.

During education board meetings this week, the conservatives made clear that they’d also continue trying to highlight what they consider to be the Christian roots of the Constitution and some of the nation’s other founding documents.

“To deny the Judeo-Christian values of our founding fathers is just a lie to our kids,” said Ken Mercer, a San Antonio Republican.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.