TX curriculum debates politcally charged

By: Maddie Garrett Email
By: Maddie Garrett Email

Denison, TX – Social studies is the next big subject on the drawing board for Texas educators. Experts in Austin, TX are discussing everything from religion's role in American history to which historical figures should be included in text books.

But local teachers and school districts worry that these discussions are turning into a cultural war and say they don’t want politics to interfere with education.

"When they start letting their own biases create history that students learn, that's probably when we'll start having a problem, said Denison I.S.D. Assistant Superintendent George Hatfield.

Those biases are from Republicans and Democrats who are debating what students should learn in social studies classes.

Yesterday the Texas State Board of Educators began revisions to curriculum standards, which range in topics from the Great Depression, religious movements and even Civil Rights leaders.

"As a teacher sitting here, I think oh my, this is a sad thing that we have to battle over what's going to be in our text books,” said Gloria Davidson, the U.S. History Chair at Denison High School.

Disagreements are already simmering between conservatives and democrats on the proposal.

"Trying to bring their political ideas into the situation, that's not really appropriate in our view,” said Hatfield of the battle between right and left.

Some of the hot topics are removing historical figures and Civil Rights leaders who are no longer considered pertinent, and possibly downplaying the role of religion in American History.

"The Puritans, the Catholics that came over to Maryland, the Great Awakenings the first and the second one, are very important to shaping our character and who we are as Americans, to leave that out would be doing a disservice,” said Davidson.

And Davidson says talking about all major religions has been an important part of teaching in her classroom, and hopes the proposals don't eliminate that aspect of teaching.

"I just don't want to be so politically correct that you can't even talk about religion in schools,” said Davidson.

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  • by MA Location: Sherman on Dec 9, 2009 at 06:24 AM
    Oh good God, people. I think these ninnies like to argue back and forth more than focus on any kind of result. Nothing is wrong with teaching religion's role in US history from the Deist beliefs of the Founding Fathers, to the Puritans' reasons for fleeing England, to the biblical justifications of slavery used back in those days, to the positive impact that the Catholic Church and other religious organizations have had in providing hospitals, refuge and care to the sick and poor. Present what can be backed up with historical evidence and have the conclusions made by the students. That's what school is for.
  • by Ralph Location: Denison on Sep 21, 2009 at 08:56 PM
    I find it interesting that those who decry the insidious socialist agenda actually think our socialist public school systems should teach more about religion, especailly Christianity. What's the matter Righties, you can't teach your kids about the Bible yourself? Can't your preachers handle the job? You expect socialists to do it for you?!? That's rich.
  • by Jack Location: Around on Sep 21, 2009 at 01:02 PM
    Bad OOTO bad OOTO get back under your rock. FYI your not GOD, but hey I guess in your little world you are.
  • by Another Observation Location: Local on Sep 21, 2009 at 12:59 PM
    "vote em out:" you apparently are, as many conservatives tend to do, getting your facts all confused. The bailouts of banks and Wall Street was begun as part of the previous president's policies. How would voting out "left wing liberals" have prevented that? (Clue: It wouldn't.)
  • by The Truth Location: Everywhere on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:25 AM
    Did you people miss the story about how only one in four Oklahoma high school kids can name the first President of the United States? Does it surprise anyone that Oklahoma is the only state in the union where EVERY county voted Republican in the Presidential race? Keeping them stupid is the only way to perpetuate the Christian Conservative agenda. Rember, the "Left wing Liberals" were voted into office to fix the huge mess that 8 years of stupidity, greed and lies got us into. Also. Those Scholars that ARE the only ones that should be writing our history books, (Using REAL history), are mostly left wingers. They are the ones that rely on facts and common sense to come to a conclusion. They don't have to have Limbaugh, Beck, or Hannity do their thinking, (Or lack there of), for them. They also don't need a book written thousands of years ago by Middle Eastern fanatics about their mythological gods to do their thinking or writing. Wake up and think for yourself!
  • by OOTO Location: Texoma on Sep 21, 2009 at 07:22 AM
    "Speeking english" eh, Jack? I think not. Maybe a corruption of the language, but not the language itself, not to mention using horrible sytax and structure. Proper nouns, such as American, and English are always capitalized. "But we have got so bad..." would be more correctly written as "we are so terrible," or "we have gotten bad..." "God" is also a proper noun. Don't speak ill of others who don't have a command of the language, unless you, yourself, do as well. Oh...and while I am at, "vote em out," book burnings have traditionally been the domain of the extreme religous right. All of this being said, government really has no place in the writing or editing of textbooks. That is for the scholarly.
  • by bud Location: denison on Sep 21, 2009 at 04:52 AM
    God,Guns and Guts made America Free, not corupt Congress, we need to remember we fought for freedom once we can do it again. But freedom isnt free you have to fight for it.
  • by Tony Location: Sherman on Sep 20, 2009 at 09:09 PM
    Yet another attempt to take the words of God out of the world, which by the way HE created. Its been tried before guys ,on the cross . NEWS FLASH he did die yet he rose again . But I do agree that there should be a change ,put the BIBLE back in schools where by the way it does belong. Keep it going Mrs Davidson .
  • by bud Location: denison on Sep 20, 2009 at 06:16 AM
    If they will not alow religious history then the political should not be in there either.
  • by luke on Sep 19, 2009 at 08:13 PM
    As we move along as a country the history you cover has to be broader in strokes. There is simply more to cover. If your kids want to learn more about a specific time in history they will get that chance in college or if they don't go to college heaven forbid they read a book after school. If you read a history book make sure it is written by a historian, not someone trying to push a political agenda. There are some great deals on used books on sites like amazon and ebay.
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