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Texas School Board Seeks to Ax Historical Figures From Curriculum

Lead Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons

The Texas State Board of Education, a 15-member group that has been of great importance to the religious right since the 1960s, voted Friday to revise the public school social studies curriculum, including the removal of Hillary Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller.

To speed up a third-grade unit on civic responsibility, the board opted to remove Keller—an activist, member of the Socialist Party, co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and the first blind and deaf person with a bachelor’s degree. The work group wrote, “Helen Keller does not best represent the concept of citizenship,” giving her a score of seven out of 20 in considering her usefulness to the school curriculum. Removing her would save 40 minutes, it calculated.

By contrast, U.S. senators and representatives from Texas and “Texans who have been president” all received a rating of 20 out of 20. Students as young as kindergarten are expected to “identify the role of the U.S. free enterprise system.”

Instead of learning about Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African-American to serve in the U.S. Congress, eighth-grade classes should now “consider the concept of black people serving in government, as opposed to an individual,” the board wrote.

For high school classes, the board suggested removing discussion about opportunities and obstacles for women and members of ethnic minorities because, according to the board, “American patriotism does not inspire obstacles for women and ethnic minorities.”

The board will hold a final vote on the curriculum in November.

Other people the board has suggested removing from the social studies curriculum include the Navajo Code Talkers, American orator and politician William Jennings Bryan, onetime Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, journalist and civil rights leader Ida B. Wells and women’s rights leader Betty Friedan.

Naomi LaChance
Naomi LaChance has written for local newspapers such as the Berkshire Eagle and the Poughkeepsie Journal as well as national outlets including NPR, the Intercept, TYT Network and the Huffington Post. Her…
Naomi LaChance

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