Texas Legislative Update – by Liberty Institute/Free Market Foundation
Now that the liberal media and left wing extremists have had their fun over the past month bashing the Texas social studies standards without having actually read them, let’s see what amount of ink and attention this issue gets now that people can read for themselves the final, approved content of the standards.
Today, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is scheduled to release the final version of the social studies standards passed by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) by a vote of 9-5, on May 21 after more than a year and a half of public testimony, review, and input by professors, teachers, business leaders and parents.
Here are the direct links to the text of the standards as posted online by TEA:
Liberty Institute, which worked heavily on this issue and was represented at each SBOE meeting on the topic, issued the following statement:
“Anyone who actually reads the standards will see accurate, common sense content that Texas has adopted,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute. “Our students now have new tools to lead Texas and our state in the 21st century.”
“People want our students to learn about the founding principles that make this country great,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute. “Students under these standards will actually be reading and discussing our founding documents and will be way ahead of other students across the country.”
The SBOE adopted numerous recommendations by professors and teachers. However, the SBOE rejected other recommendations made by some professors and/or teachers, such as completely removing Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, George Patton, the Liberty Bell, Mother Teresa, and Jonas Salk. The SBOE also rejected efforts by some teachers and/or professors to reduce the teaching on Independence Day and Veterans Day.
The final standards also include religious freedom language sponsored by SBOE member Bob Craig that allows students to study the actual words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and compare and contrast those words with the phrase “separation of church and state.” This language was adopted by an 11-3 bipartisan vote.
Notable Content of Texas Social Standards:
- Tejano leaders: Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro, and specific Tejanos who died at the Alamo-Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier
- Contributions of Founding Fathers: John Hancock, John Jay, John Witherspoon, others.
- Thomas Jefferson: five specific references, Declaration of Independence referenced throughout.
- Concepts: American Exceptionalism, Celebrate Freedom Week
- Capitalism: referenced numerous times.
- Religious Heritage: impact of religion and Judeo-Christian legal tradition on America.
- Religious Diversity: Student will learn about Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
- · Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases: Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Roe v. Wade, Tinker v. Des Moines, Miranda v. Arizona.
- · Notable/Cultural Leaders Covered: Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, Dolores Huerta, Lorenzo de Zavala, James A. Baker III, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sam Walton, Ronald Reagan, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Harriet Tubman, Todd Beamer, Roy Benavidez, John Olivas, Henry B. Gonzalez, Hector P. Garcia, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr., George Washington Carver, others
- Groups: LULAC, NAACP, NRA, Moral Majority, Heritage Foundation.
Some are making outrageous statements about the new Texas Social Studies standards. It’s obvious, they either have not read the new standards, or they are intentionally misleading the public.
They claim Thomas Jefferson is not in the standards.
The fact is that Thomas Jefferson is in the Texas Social Studies standards numerous times, including:
- In Grade 5: “Founding Father and Patriot her(o)…Thomas Jefferson..”.
- In Grade 8: for “significant individuals that played a role in the American Revolution…..Thomas Jefferson…”
- In U.S. Government (twice) “the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including…Thomas Jefferson…”.
- In World History: Students must “explain the political philosophies of individuals such as…Thomas Jefferson…”
- Moreover, the Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson authored, is referenced at least 25 times throughout the K-12 Social Studies standards.
They claim religious freedom is watered down in the standards.
The fact is religious freedom is taught using language from the First Amendment of the Constitution, the direct source of Religious Freedom language
In U.S. Government: “Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed it free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.”
This standard was proposed by moderate Republican Bob Craig. This social studies standard was approved by a bipartisan, 11-3 vote.
Religion has very diverse coverage: in Texas social studies, students will learn about Confuscianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism and Christianity.
They claim The State Board of Education members have no teaching experience.
The fact is numerous members of the State Board of Education have teaching experience. Click here for official bios of the SBOE members. www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=3803
They claim that teachers and professors were kept out of the process.
The fact is the State Board of Education had five public hearings and heard hours of testimony from numerous professors and teachers and many of their suggestions are reflected in the standards. Furthermore, many of the changes suggested by a select group of appointed teachers to a review panel were adopted.
They claim that that the term slavery was taken out of the standards.
The fact is slavery is in the standards.
For the correct context of this misleading information, one section of the standards, before it was changed on Thursday, said this:
“explain reasons for the development of the plantation system, the Atlantic triangular growth of the slave trade, and the spread of slavery; and…” There were no official objections to this language, by Republicans or Democrats, in January when the initial change was made.
Then, last week, the State Board of Education voted 15-0 to change the phrase “Atlantic Triangular Trade” to “Transatlantic Slave Trade”.
Slavery is covered numerous other times throughout the K-12 course.
They claim there are no references to capitalism.
The fact is capitalism is in every grade of social studies standards starting at grade 2.
“Students identify the role of the U.S. free enterprise system within the parameters of this course and understand that this system may also be referenced as capitalism or the free market system.”
They claim that minorities and women have been diminished or “whitewashed”.
The fact is the following minorities, women, cases and groups are covered by the social studies standards:
Cesar Chavez (2 references), Dolores Huerta, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King (5 references), Jr, Sonia Sotomayor, Barack H. Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Wallace Jefferson, Rosa Parks (2 references), Susan B. Anthony, Lorenzo de Zavala, Booker T. Washington, Henry B. Gonzalez (2 references), Hector P. Garcia (3 refences), Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr.(2 references), Jose Antonio Navarro, Francisco Ruiz, Hillary Clinton, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Ochoa, Harriet Tubman, Roy Benavides, John”Danny” Olivas, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, Carlos Espalier, George Washington Carver, Crispus Attucks, Wentworth Cheswell, Placido Benavides, William Carney, Philip Bazaar, Enrique Esparza, Bessie Coleman, Lydia Mendoza, Phillis Wheatley, Lulu Belle Madison White, Amado Pena Jr., Scott Joplin, Marcus Garvey, Kadir Nelson, Juan Seguin, Carmen Lomas Garza, Juan Antonio Badillo, Jane Addams, Abigail Adams, many others.
Landmark cases covered:
Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Edgewood I.S.D. v. Kirby, Mendez v. Westminster, Roe v. Wade
Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro are covered, including the significant contributions of Tejanos such as Juan N. Seguín, Plácido Benavides, and Jose Francisco Ruiz during the time period of the Texas Revolution, The Republic of Texas, and the annexation of Texas to the United States. Standards also include the following Tejanos who died at the Alamo, Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier.
Groups: LULAC, NAACP.
They claim the standards include “positive references” to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America.
The fact is, Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America are simply listed as examples for this high school section:
“describe the causes, key organizations, and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including….”
This section does not make a “positive” or a negative reference to these organizations, it simply lists them as being a part of “conservative resurgence”.