The New Mexico education department has proposed changes to state history exams that Democratic lawmakers are decrying as an attempt to erase social-justice and civil rights leaders, among other topics, from lessons.
A hearing at the Capitol this month drew dozens of opponents to the plan, voicing concerns reminiscent of a recent controversy that erupted over the agency’s proposal to rework science standards, which would have dropped key concepts such as evolution and climate change. The department later withdrew that proposal.
This time, the department’s changes wouldn’t affect the social studies standards, but they still could alter what students learn, lawmakers argued, because teachers might not bother introducing students to historical figures such as Malcolm X and Rosa Parks, or a major event like the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if the material won’t be on the tests.
And while the science-standards debate centered on whether the state was allowing religion and politics to creep into classrooms, the history exam proposal has raised questions about diversity and even racism.
A version of this article appeared in the November 29, 2017 edition of Education Week as Democrats Decry Plan to Drop Content on Civil Rights Leaders From Exam