On Sunday, Emma Brown (Washington Post) reported that millions of public school students in Texas “will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation.” In addition, she said that the state’s guidelines for teaching American history “do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.”
And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.
Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”
Hardy was also quoted as saying, “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”
Arturo Garcia (Raw Story) said that neither Hardy nor Donna Bahorich, the newly appointed chair of the Texas Board of Education, had commented on the new curriculum. He noted that publisher McGraw-Hill “addressed concerns over whether the materials downplaying slavery would be distributed outside Texas in a short statement, saying, ‘Content that is tailored to the educational standards of states.’”
Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network told the Post. “Not only are we worried about the flags and statues and all that, but what the hell are kids learning?”
What will the kids in Texas be learning? What the Texas Board of Education has decided is politically correct in the Lone Star State.
Washington Post Editorial Board:
THIS FALL, Texas schools will teach students that Moses played a bigger role in inspiring the Constitution than slavery did in starting the Civil War. The Lone Star State’s new social studies textbooks, deliberately written to play down slavery’s role in Southern history, do not threaten only Texans — they pose a danger to schoolchildren all over the country.
The Texas board of education adopted a revised social studies curriculum in 2010 after a fierce battle. When it came to social studies standards, conservatives championing causes from a focus on the biblical underpinnings of our legal system to a whitewashed picture of race in the United States won out. The guidelines for teaching Civil War history were particularly concerning: They teach that “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — carefully ordered to stress the first two and shrug off the last — caused the conflict. Come August, the first textbooks catering to the changed curriculum will make their way to Texas classrooms.
WaPo’s Editorial Board said it was alarming that 150 years following the end of the Civil War, children in Texas will be learning that slavery was “a side issue” to the conflict. The Board added, “No serious scholar agrees. Every additional issue at play in 1861 was secondary to slavery — not the other way around. By distorting history, Texas tells its students a dishonest and damaging story about the United States that prevents children from understanding the country today.” The Board also found it troubling that Texas’s standards look likely to affect more than just Texans: “The state is the second-largest in the nation, which means books designed for its students may find their way into schools elsewhere, too.”
If teaching history is how society shows younger generations who they are and where they came from, the Civil War presents unique challenges, especially because of the fundamental differences in the way the cause of the war is perceived 150 years after its last battle.
Nowhere is the rejection of slavery’s central role more apparent than in Texas, where elected members of the state board of education revised state social studies standards in 2010 to correct for what they said was a liberal slant.
Brown also noted that Texas students “are required to read the speech Jefferson Davis gave when he was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America, an address that does not mention slavery. But students are not required to read a famous speech by Alexander Stephens, Davis’s vice president, in which he explained that the South’s desire to preserve slavery was the cornerstone of its new government and ‘the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.’”
Teaching history not as it happened—but as how some would like children in their state to learn it. Lying to our youth about the past. Texas officials should hang their heads in shame!
How Texas is whitewashing Civil War history (Washington Post)