The culture wars’ new front: U.S. history classes in Texas

The fight over school curriculum in Texas — recently focused on biology — has entered a new arena, reports the Wall Street Journal, with a brewing debate over how much faith belongs in American history classrooms. The Texas Board of Education, which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist critiques of evolution, is revising the state’s social studies curriculum. In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history. Three reviewers, appointed by social conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith, and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall. Three other reviewers, all selected by politically moderate or liberal members of the board, recommended less-sweeping changes to the existing curriculum. Social studies teachers from Texas are meeting this summer to write the new standards. They can accept, reject, or modify the six reviewers’ suggestions, all of which were made individually. The teachers’ recommendations are then sent to the 15-member board of education, a conservative-dominated body that has the final say…

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