The controversial debate over what is taught in the state's social studies classrooms will continue next week at the State Board of Education prepares to make final adoptions to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Friday state officials issued a release that includes these amendments board member Don McLeroy, of College Station who recently lost his bid for reelection, hopes to get approved. They include having students:
*contrast the Founding Father's intent for the wording of the First Amendment with the phrase "separation of church and state."
*discuss alternatives regarding long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio.
*contrast the tone of muckrakers and reform leaders such as Upton Sinclair, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells and W. E. B. DuBois on American society versus "the optimism of immigrants including Jean Pierre Godet as told in Thomas Kinkade’s The Spirit of America."
The adoption process has gotten national attention as preliminary action included taking Thomas Jefferson out of a world history section and replacing references to capitalism with free enterprise. Critics have accused the conservative Republicans on the board, including McLeroy, of trying to inject their political beliefs into the curriculum, such as requiring teachers to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. One Hispanic board member walked out of a March meeting claiming some members were trying to "whitewash" the curriculum by excluding some minorities from history lessons.
This week the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas issued a report critical of the SBOEand called for the Legislature to check the SBOE's “systemic abuse” of power by limiting its ability to insert personal ideologies into curriculum.