The Texas Board of Education at its meeting on September 14, 2018, had a preliminary vote with a goal to remove certain historical figures from the history curriculum currently in Texas schools. The reason given was to “streamline” what students learn in their social studies classes.
Included for possible removal from the learning of students are Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential nominee of a major party, and Helen Keller, a blind and deaf woman who is an icon in the disabled community and later became an activist despite her major disabilities. Also included to possibly be removed were Andrew Carnegie, an American entrepreneur who eventually was worth a fortune in the steel industry and passed along some of that extreme wealth as a major philanthropist, and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to have served on the United States Supreme Court from 1981 when she was appointed by Ronald Reagan until she retired in 2006.
High school students had been assigned to do an evaluation of the contributions of significant social and political United States leaders, and it was decided to keep such people as the heroes of the Alamo, the Biblical figure Moses as an influence on politics in America, and references to the influence Judeo-Christian values had on the founding of the United States on the subjects of American history, religious traditions, biblical law, and politics.
Jonathan Saenz, the group’s president, said that in Texas no one messes with the Alamo or with the Christian heritage. Some other officials also spoke out against the board’s recommended decisions and said in part that both Clinton and Keller were important historical figures that should be retained for the benefit of the students’ knowledge and appreciation of history.
Board members said that removing those leaders who were famous for different reasons from the history curriculum would not prevent teaching about them to relate their importance to history, but doing so would not remain on a mandatory basis. The vote of the Board was only a preliminary one and was not a final vote. It was agreed that amendments as to the possibility of removals and retentions can be made and added to or subtracted from the proposed curriculum changes before a final vote that has been scheduled for November.