Tribpedia: Social Studies Standards Debate

Tribpedia

Tempers flared throughout 2010 over the State Board of Education's proposed changes to the Texas public school curriculum. The standards, known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), are reviewed, amended and adopted about every 10 years and guide what material is included in Texas textbooks for about 4.7 million public school students. 

In 2010, the changes put ...

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Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.
Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.

SBOE Conservatives Allege Islamic Bias in Textbooks

Members of the State Board of Education’s hard-right wing appear poised to inject themselves into the national fray over Islamic influence in America with a resolution warning textbook publishers that a “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks.”

An observer holds a protest sign during testimony at the State Board of Education (SBOE) textbook hearings on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
An observer holds a protest sign during testimony at the State Board of Education (SBOE) textbook hearings on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Texans Want to Reform State Board of Education

Texans overwhelmingly reject the way the State Board of Education sets requirements for textbooks and curriculum, which ignited a nationwide controversy earlier this year, according to a statewide survey the Texas Freedom Network released today.

Former State Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar at a meeting in March 2010.
Former State Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar at a meeting in March 2010.

SBOE's Dunbar Prays for Constitutional Revision

In a morning prayer to open the State Board of Education meeting, social conservative member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, mixed worship with a constitutional argument against the separation of church and state — previewing the politically charged debate to come later today, as conservatives tackle their last big agenda item before approving the state social studies standards.

An observer holds a protest sign during testimony at the State Board of Education (SBOE) textbook hearings on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
An observer holds a protest sign during testimony at the State Board of Education (SBOE) textbook hearings on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Texas Board of Education Fights Over History

A member of the State Board of Education's internationally notorious conservative wing trotted out Barack Obama's middle name late in a marathon meeting Thursday, a fitting end to a debate over social studies curriculum standards that was marked by irritable outbursts and inane dialogue. Members fought over slavery, Jefferson Davis, Joseph McCarthy — even over when they could finally adjourn. 

Texas School Board Fights Church-State Separation

At a public hearing today, the State Board of Education's social conservative bloc is expected to launch attacks on the church-state “wall” as part of hundreds of changes to the social studies curriculum standards, which could provide the outline for tests and textbooks years into the future. The board expects to take a final vote on the entire curriculum on Friday.

Rod Paige Address State Board of Education

Former U.S. Secretary of Education and Houston Superintendent Rod Paige this morning asked the State Board of Education to delay adopting its standards, saying they had “swung too far” to the ideological right and diminished the importance of civil rights and slavery. Asked if the board should delay a final vote expected Friday, he said, "Absolutely."

Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy
Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy

SBOE's History Rewrite May Ultimately Not Matter

Four members of the State Board of Education who are exiting their seats in January are preparing to cast decisive votes this week on controversial curriculum revisions that will alter social studies textbooks for 4.7 million public school children in Texas. But, just maybe, not so fast: Two Republicans who'll likely win election to the SBOE this fall, and a Democrat who is vying for another soon-to-be-vacated seat, said in interviews that they'd support reopening the standards process if consensus emerged on the newly constituted board. 

Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.
Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.

SBOE to Debate Additional Amendments

When they meet in Austin next week, social conservatives on the State Board of Education — some now lame ducks — may be going even further with amendments challenging the separation of church and state, entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, landmark desegregation cases and the work of muckraking journalists such as Susan B. Anthony and W.E.B. Du Bois. Another amendment amplifies a long-running effort to resuscitate the reputation of communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Texas Textbooks' National Influence Is a Myth

Despite all the handwringing about Texas' influence on the textbook market nationally, it's just not so, publishing insiders say. The state's clout has been on the wane and will diminish more as technological advances and political shifts transform the industry.