New Texas Social Studies Textbooks Whitewash and Rewrite American History

TeaxsFixingHistoryBy Elaine Magliaro

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 TexasMaptelegraph 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.”

Emma Brown:

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!


Whitewash: New Texas history books will downplay slavery, omit KKK and Jim Crow (Raw Story)

Texas officials: Schools should teach that slavery was ‘side issue’ to Civil War (Washington Post)

How Texas is whitewashing Civil War history (Washington Post)

This entry was posted in American History, Civil War, Conservatives, Education, Government, Government Propaganda, Political Science, Politics, Propaganda, Racism, Society, States, United States and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to New Texas Social Studies Textbooks Whitewash and Rewrite American History

  1. Anonymously Yours says:

    I don’t like revisionist history, nor do I care for censorship.

    Definition of censorship in English:

    1The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security:
    the regulation imposes censorship on all media
    [AS MODIFIER]: we have strict censorship laws

  2. swarthmoremom says: ” Texas’s social studies standards are more politicized than any other state, said Jeremy A. Stern, a historian who reviewed state standards for the conservative-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute in 2011. He gave Texas’s standards a D and wrote that the board was “molding the telling of the past to justify its current views.” Evangelical christian tea partyers are in charge of the state of Texas.

  3. Bob Kauten says:

    “Texas Social Studies Textbooks Whitewash and Rewrite American History”?
    Quelle surprise! Say it ain’t so!
    I spose this is the wrong time to mention that I’ve already forgotten the Alamo.
    Texas is a state of delusion.
    States Rights includes the right to lie to your children about slavery. Which is, really, what States Rights is all about.
    May we have another “threat” of secession, immediately followed by complaints about the slowness of Federal aid after the next catastrophic fire or flood?
    No…please don’t secede…what would we have to laugh at, if there was no Texas?
    Where would we intern our village idiots? They have the right to live somewhere!
    Jade Helm 15, I can’t wait!

  4. ann summers says:

    Textbooks are the least of one’s problems when they could all be put online and sanitized for reactionary stupidity and revisionist racism. Real federalizing of public education mush occur with more standardized financing formulas that don’t privilege inequality of diversity or family income.- stop trying to get assessments and their systems driven by private testing services to conform to linear outcomes and to use them as a labor cudgel

  5. bettykath says:

    Downplaying slavery as the primary cause of the civil war isn’t new. I didn’t learn it and I went to school in NYS many, many years ago. Of course, I found the social studies classes to be sooooo boring. I didn’t see much sense in learning a bunch of stuff that was only part of the story, so little a part that it seemed to be a lie. I got through the classes by regurgitation.

  6. Oro Lee says:

    Even Texas Tech football players get how dumb this is . . .

  7. Oro Lee says:

    I can’t get too bent out of shape, I had football coaches masquerading as history teachers in my Texas high school — didn’t learn a damn thing. Got pretty good at playing Risk in World History.

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