Social Studies

GOP Lawmakers Criticize Texas Social Studies Standards

By Erik W. Robelen — March 16, 2011 1 min read
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Remember those controversial social studies standards enacted last year in Texas? Well, according to the San Antonio Express-News, bipartisan pressure in the state legislature is mounting to revisit them. For a reminder on the debate, check out my wrap-up article from last June.

The new story from the San Antonio paper notes that three Republicans with leadership roles in the Texas House of Representatives, including the chairmen of the appropriations and the public education committees, have criticized the new standards and how they were developed.

Critics fault the Texas board of education for considering nearly 200 last-hour amendments before taking a final vote last year, the story explains. (The standards were ultimately approved on a series of party line votes of 9-5, with all Democrats opposed. The exception was a 14-0 vote on economics standards.)

“These standards and the way they were developed just don’t pass the common-sense test,” Rep. Charlie Geren, the chairman of the House Administration Committee, told the newspaper. “The law has a process laid out for how to write our state’s curriculum, and they thumbed their nose at it and wrote standards themselves..”

Another of the Republicans cited a recent report on state history standards from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute as influencing his stance.

“When groups like the Fordham Institute call our standards ‘a politicized distortion of history’ and ‘an unwieldy tangle of social studies categories,’ we have a problem,” Rep. Rob Eissler was quoted as saying.

GOP state board member David Bradley, a leading champion of the new standards, told the newspaper that he doubts the votes are there to reopen the standards.

The standards attracted national attention—and criticism—so stay tuned for further developments. Also, if this is a topic is of interest, you can decide for yourself whether the new standards were worthy of Texas students or not, by actually reading them.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.