Phi Beta Cons

The Texas Social-Studies Curriculum

The Wall Street Journal today has an op-ed (subscribers only) by David Upham of the University of Dallas on proposed changes to the state social-studies curriculum. The Texas board of education has come under fire for its “far-right bias” and for ignoring the role and impact of minorities and women in U.S. history. While Upham does disagree with some of the revisions, he sets the record straight on the actual content of the new plan. He notes several errors of fact in the criticisms:

The board did not excise Thomas Jefferson, downplay constitutional religious freedom, or minimize the role of women and minorities. On the contrary, the curriculum is replete with specific references to Jefferson, religious freedom, the civil rights movement, and the achievements and struggles of women and minorities.

One complaint was the removal of Dolores Huerta from third-grade studies (Helen Keller and Clara Barton are retained), which signified and anti-Hispanic attitude. But, Upham explains, “Ms. Huerta was an important leader in the cause of farm workers rights and remains in the high-school curriculum. But she is also a prominent advocate of unrestricted abortion and socialism, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, and therefore, arguably, not a role model for third-graders.”

There are other explanations in the article worth reading. The main point, however, lies in that word “arguably.” Upham does have disagreements, but he considers them honest disagreements. Other media reports essentially cast the school board as a bunch of racist yokels out to return deplorable myths about America into the classroom.

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