LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - 4.6 million Texas students could see changes in their history books. The Texas Association of Educators met Thursday in Austin to discuss the curriculum draft. The board is in the preliminary stages of making these changes.
It's been over a decade since the Texas social studies curriculum was updated. Conservative and liberal critics say each group is taking the chance to rewrite history. This controversy leaves board member Bob Craig hoping politics will stay out of the curriculum changes. "We've gone nearly 12 years so it does need to be updated," says Craig by phone from Austin. He was at Thursday's meeting and says it is the first of many to update the state's K-12 social studies curriculum.
"I want to make sure we have a factual, fair and accurate representation of history and don't slant it," adds Craig. Missing from the pages of Texas history books are the 9-11 terror attacks, two wars, and two U.S. Presidents. Conservative and liberal critics each say the other is trying to rewrite history. Part of the controversy stems from the proposed changes in the drafts one of which refers to the United States as a republic instead of a democracy. Another requires students be able to identify prominent conservatives such as Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.
One other proposed change would eliminate the word Christmas from school curriculum a word Craig says isn't going anywhere.
Craig's goal, keep to the historical facts. "I hope at the end of the day that we can keep political factors and influence out and stick to history itself and not to political persuasion one way or the other," adds Craig.
Texas Tech University history Professor Dr. Ron Milam expects to see students who complete the state's K-12 program in his classroom and encourages his students to learn the facts. "What happened, happened. It's our interpretations that may be different because of our political leanings but we try to fight out way through in our teaching and the way we approach our students," says Milam.
He teaches hundreds of Tech students and hopes politics doesn't shape his future student's curriculum. "I think if they are trying to paint an equal objectivity lens to use politics as measuring tool is not the way to do it," says Milam.
It will take months before the board decides what's printed on the history pages. Craig says that Texas is a large text book manufacturer for many other states so the board's final decision will impact students from across the country. This is a preliminary round of hearings. The board will meet in October and hopes to have a first reading of the proposed changes in January.
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What kids across the state learn in social studies class could be changing and it is causing some controversy. NewsChannel 11's Ann Wyatt Little is following the hearings and has more.