Miseducation

Texas Board of Ed wants to remove Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller from required curriculum

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Lauren McGauhy of The Dallas Morning News reported in recent days on an eye-opening story about changes education officials in Texas are trying to make regarding the material students in the Lone Star State will be required to learn in social studies classes. According to McGauhy’s report, the Texas Board of Education held a preliminary vote and approved removing certain historical figures from the official K-12 curriculum, including Hillary Clinton and Hellen Keller.

Hillary Clinton, of course, made history in 2016 when she became the first woman in the U.S. to win the presidential nomination for a major political party. She also went on to win the popular vote. High school students in Texas have been required to learn about Clinton along with other influential figures in American history, like Andrew Carnegie, Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor.

McGauhy reports that a 15-member panel of educators was assembled to formulate a questionnaire that would result in ranking the significance of historical figures currently being taught in the curriculum. The questionnaire was given to a number of teachers who volunteered to give feedback and it posed questions such as: “Did the person trigger a watershed change”; “Was the person from an underrepresented group”; and “Will their impact stand the test of time?”

Helen Adams Keller (1880 – 1968), the blind and deaf author and lecturer. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Historical figures were graded on a point system and Clinton scored a 5 out of 20, while Keller picked up a 7. Republican senator and 1964 GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater — the first candidate of Jewish heritage to run for president, though he was a practicing Christian — was also ousted from the curriculum. Keller, the famed political activist and author who was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college, has been taught to third-graders in Texas for decades.

The new curriculum wouldn’t prohibit teachers from continuing to teach students about Clinton, Keller and Goldwater, but it won’t mandate them to do so, which proponents say will help teachers allow students to focus less on memorization of names and dates. While many lauded the outcome of the vote, the decision was also met with criticism given that it will impact some 5.4 million students in Texas and could serve as a template for curriculums in other states.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner slammed the decision and in a post on Twitter called for Clinton and Keller to be added back to the curriculum. “If Helen Keller was an important historical figure when I was in school (and she was), then she still is today,” the state representative said. “@HillaryClinton is the 1st and only woman to be the presidential nominee of a major party in U.S. history. Enough said.” Incidentally, teachers will still be required to provide lessons on former President Bill Clinton.

The board of education will vote again one last time on the measure in November, so a new curriculum has not yet been adopted. On Monday night, McGauhy appeared on CNN to discuss the implications of the vote being finalized in November. “Textbook creators, when they’re looking at what they are going to put into their books for not just our state, but states across the country, they will look at the curriculum in Texas,” she said. Watch her full interview with Chris Cuomo below.

Read the full story at The Dallas Morning News

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