School Curriculum Drama Nearing Curtain Call

State board of education to vote on Friday

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Wednesday, May 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:29 AM CDT
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School Curriculum Drama Nearing Curtain Call

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The board of education will vote on the state's social studies standards.

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The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a final list of proposed changes to the state's social studies standards.

A record 206 people have signed up to address the board at its final hearing Wednesday in Austin. The board will take a final vote Friday.

Don McLeroy, who lost his bid for re-election in the March primary, said he will offer a series of amendments, including ones that suggest the nation's founders might not have intended a separation of church and state as it has been interpreted by the courts and that the United Nations poses a threat to individual liberties.

Other proposals would tone down criticisms of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist hearings of the 1950s and drop the study of a landmark 1949 federal court ruling that declared schools could not legally segregate Mexican-American students, even though the practice remained popular in Texas for decades.

Another change would have students study musical influences on our culture, including rock 'n' roll and country music, but not hip-hop.

The curriculum will set the standards for teaching history and social studies to some 4.8 million public school students for 10 years. The standards also will be used to develop state tests and by textbook publishers.

Juanita Wallace, of the Dallas chapter of the NAACP, said the board is choosing to ignore important events that affect minorities.

"We have to realize that ethnicity and culture is extremely important, and we have to recognize if we don't teach that all the way through high school, our students lose the value of it and think it's not important," she said.

Conservatives with Liberty Institute in Plano said the proposals are meant to ensure that key people and events in American history continue being taught.

"There were original changes taking lots of things out of the curriculum, like Neil Armstrong and lots of other important aspects of American history that we all studied, and now, the changes that are on the table are to put all that stuff back in," said Hiram Sasser, of the Liberty Institute.

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