Texas Board of Education under fire as curriculum vote nears

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) -  A controversial decision that will impact what Texas students learn in the classroom is being met with public criticism. The State Board of Education is hearing from more than 200 people on proposed changes to social studies guidelines.

An East Texas educator says changes to the curriculum are necessary, but it is the state board's political bias that concerns people.

A record number of witnesses signed up to voice their opinions in Austin. Teachers who drafted the new social studies standards claim the State Board of Education has manipulated their work, and the debate got heated.

"Sorry, I will need to ask that those who can't abide by our rules are escorted out of the room," said .

In East Texas, Connie Player is the Curriculum Director for Gladewater ISD. She says it is important that social studies guidelines are revised.

"It's alive and I like to say here, 'History happens every day,' so it can't be a stale document," said Player. "It has to be fluid and moving."

The state is required to make changes to curriculum every 10 years, adding and taking away historical figures and events.

"They've added Bill Clinton to the texts - a great example," said Player. "When we got the texts in 1997, Bill Clinton wouldn't have been in the U.S. history texts but he will be in the revised texts."

This time around, there is growing concern about the board's revisions. Skeptics claim the conservative board is inserting their views in lessons on McCarthyism, the Alamo, and civil rights leaders.

"I don't think it is in the best interest of the kids and I think it does cause teachers and administrators to lose confidence in the whole process," said Player.

It is a process that could affect standards for every kid in the nation.

"The biggest states - Texas, California, Florida, New York - they kind of drive the textbook publishers," Player explained. "You can't afford to publish a book that couldn't be published in Texas."

A final vote on the curriculum standards is scheduled for Friday. The guidelines will remain in place for the next decade.

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