Texas Considers Removing Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton From Curriculum

Caryn Bresciani, teacher of Cherry Creek High School, left, 10th grader Daniel Evans and other students are talking about Cowboy Ethics

The Texas Board of Education is considering some major changes to the state's social studies curriculum. The 15-member board began hearing testimony on Tuesday (November 13) about removing historical figures, including Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton, and Barry Goldwater because they are considered "non-essential" historical figures. The board claims the changes will help "streamline" the curriculum, making it easier for teachers to do their jobs.

Not everybody agrees with the new curriculum. Nearly 200 educators signed an open letter accusing the board members of making the changes for political reasons.

"Disregarding the input and testimony of several historians, the SBOE adopted standards that reflected the ideological commitments of board members rather than longstanding historical consensus."

They warned that the current standards would "leave Texas students ill-prepared to succeed in college-level history courses" and "deny our students a basic understanding of the historical roots of the most pressing contemporary problems."

Marcy Emerick, an 11th-grade history teacher, told the Texas Tribune that the new standards do not make things easier for teachers. She explained that in order to teach a lesson on something like Reconstruction, she must cut something else out. 

"If the whole goal was to make this simpler, that didn’t happen,” she said.

The board voted to preliminarily approve the changes in September and could take a final vote by the end of the week. 

Photo: Getty Images

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