School & District Management

History Heartburn Expected in Texas

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 24, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Texas educators have drafted new K-12 social studies standards, and they—and the state education board members who will vote on them—expect that the U.S. history strand could be contentious.

Texas board members have a reputation for being polarized ideologically. Revisions of standards for science and English-language arts in recent years have been fractious. (“Texas Board Feud Stirs Up Legislators,” April 29, 2009.)

What the state incorporates into its standards can have nationwide significance because publishers often look to Texas, as well as California, when writing textbooks.

Gail A. Lowe, the chairwoman of the state board of education, said its discussion last month focused mostly on the U.S. history portion of the overall social studies standards. “I think that’s what people think of when they think of the history we teach in schools,” she added.

Even before the new standards were drafted, a wide range of views emerged among the six experts appointed to submit written recommendations on what changes should be made.

Peter Marshall, the president of Peter Marshall Ministries, for instance, said he objected to a 5th grade “citizenship” standard that called for students to be able to identify Cesar Chavez, a Latino civil rights and labor leader, as someone who modeled active participation in U.S. democracy.

At the same time, Jesus Francisco de la Teja, a history professor at Texas State University-San Marcos, recommended that Chavez be added to a list of historical figures in one particular standard “who have influenced the community, state, and nation.”

Cesar Chavez was not removed from the standards.

Standards are important because “you want to have some order out of the chaos,” said Bronwen Choate, a world history teacher at Graham High School in Graham, Texas, who is on the high school writing team. “There are the non-negotiables that you have to cover.”

The state board is to hear public testimony on the standards in September. A final vote is expected in March.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 26, 2009 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Why Schools Struggle With Implementation. And How They Can Do Better
Improvement efforts often sputter when the rubber hits the road. But do they have to?
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management How Principals Use the Lunch Hour to Target Student Apathy
School leaders want to trigger the connection between good food, fun, and rewards.
5 min read
Lunch hour at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West in Albertville, Minn.
Students share a laugh together during lunch hour at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West in Albertville, Minn.
Courtesy of Lynn Jennissen
School & District Management Opinion Teachers and Students Need Support. 5 Ways Administrators Can Help
In the simplest terms, administrators advise, be present by both listening carefully and being accessible electronically and by phone.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
School & District Management Opinion When Women Hold Each Other Back: A Call to Action for Female Principals
With so many barriers already facing women seeking administrative roles, we should not be dimming each other’s lights.
Crystal Thorpe
4 min read
A mean female leader with crossed arms stands in front of a group of people.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva