This week, the agency that decides what Texas students learn in the classroom meets to finalize changes to the social studies curriculum.
An effort that started almost a year ago, after teachers argued that the standards included too much material to cover in a school year.
The proposed changes included removing Hillary Clinton and Hellen Keller from the curriculum although teachers can still squeeze them in.
“Teachers have the liberty to share within that historical context these other themes, eras, events in American history that they feel whole heartedly are true to Texas or state curriculum,” said Juan Mendoza, a social studies specialist at the Brownsville Independent School District.
But some teachers are more concerned over what the board was not cutting, involving the state’s involvement with the Civil War.
The standards currently list slavery, states’ rights and sectionalism as causes for Texas entering the Civil War, which critics say downplays slavery’s historical role.
While others, are not fazed.
“Many historians based on their backgrounds have shared that sectionalism, states’ rights, were a pivotal cause of Texas’ involvement,” Mendoza said, adding that these topics are a matter of perspective and interpretation.
“Let the students be independent thinkers, let the students consult primary and secondary sources, talk about the issues talk about the events, and have the students themselves be independent thinkers,” he said.
“We encourage our educators, our social studies teachers, for them to present these issues, values, personalities, in American history and make our students independent thinkers,” Mendoza said.
The State Board of Education voted to reinclude Hillary Clinton and Hellen Keller in the curriculum. The final vote will occur Friday.