Texas schoolbooks to teach racism, capitalism
Published May 27, 2010 7:47 PM
Following are excerpts from a talk by Teresa Gutierrez, Workers World
contributing editor and co-coordinator of the May 1 Coalition for Worker and
Immigrant Rights, at a May 22 Workers World Party forum in New York
The Texas State Board of Education began a campaign a few months ago of
proposed revisions to the Texas social studies curriculum. Discussions ranged
from whether President Ronald Reagan should get more attention (yes); whether
hip-hop should be included as part of lessons on culture (no); and whether
Confederate president Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address should be
studied alongside Abraham Lincoln’s (yes).
This could all result in removing mention of Ted Kennedy and César
Chávez in favor of new entries on the National Rifle Association and
Phyllis Schlafly, an anti-gay and anti-feminist crusader. State standards will
mandate that lessons include causes and key organizations of the conservative
movement, including the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation and the
On May 21 the right-wing changes were approved as the State Board of Education
voted 9-5 for the curriculum that will shape history books for Texas public
schools. Black and Latino/a members of the board were angry and rightly so, as
they said the changes “glorify white America’s role in
history” while avoiding the issues of racism. U.S.
“imperialism” changed to “expansionism,” and all
references to “capitalism” have been replaced with “free
enterprise,” which is mentioned more than 80 times.
The partisan board has amended or watered down the teaching of the Civil Rights
movement, the U.S. relationship with the United Nations and hundreds of other
items. Among other things, the standards state that students must
“discuss alternatives regarding long-term entitlements such as Social
Security and Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio.” Don
McLeroy explained that institutions like the U.N. undermine U.S. sovereignty.
Among the changes, students would be required to learn about the
“unintended consequences” of Title IX, affirmative action, and the
The board proposed referring to the slave trade as the Atlantic triangular
trade, but that did not prevail. Students will also now learn that the Civil
War’s emphasis was over states’ rights, with less emphasis on
There are four million children in the Texas public school system, making it
the second-largest market for textbooks in the country. As a result, changes to
the Texas curriculum are likely to impact other states as well.
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