Texas Revises History Education, Again

The resulting standards were so flawed that even the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute blasted them. The institute’s scorching 2011 review of state US history standards characterized the Texas standards as “a politicized distortion of history.” Among other things, noted the report, the standards offered an “uncritical celebration of ‘the free enterprise system and its benefits,’” completely overlooked Native Americans, downplayed slavery, barely mentioned the Black Codes or Jim Crow, and dismissed the separation of church and state as a constitutional principle.

But beyond politics, the 2010 process created problems for teachers in the classroom. The standards posed an instructional challenge because, says Quinn, they became “long and unwieldy.”

…What’s happening in Texas, says Gonzales, is a “classic content-versus-skills debate”—teachers would like more class time focusing on teaching such skills as historical thinking, but there is little consensus on how to assess them. Content knowledge, conversely, is easily measured and therefore remains in place, despite its many flaws. Most teachers inevitably find themselves teaching to the test. But as Calder and Steffes write, “The problem with including content knowledge as a goal for assessment is the question of which knowledge to test.” This is one reason why it has become impossible in Texas to separate politics from history education.

Texas Revises History Education, Again | Perspectives on History | AHA

sigh…

Texas’s board of education drives how poorly we teach history

When the 15-member Texas State Board of Education voted preliminarily last Friday on streamlining cuts to the state’s social studies curriculum, it made its usual splash. The verdict: Moses (whose “principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding documents”), the “heroic” defenders of the Alamo and the “Arab rejection of the State of Israel” as the source of Middle East conflict stay in. Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller are out.

Since 1917, when Texas law authorized the state board to purchase textbooks for all of its schools, a small group of people has held a great deal of power over what young Texans learn and how. And that group of people, largely non-educators, has long been influenced by conservative activist groups.

In the early 1920s, religious conservatives, including the Klan, induced the state board to forbid references to evolution in Texas textbooks.

Today, in a changed political atmosphere, liberals still lack voice on the state board. Democrats occupy just five of 15 seats. Most members lack any public school teaching experience.

And all of this has a deep national impact. Even with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards elsewhere, Texas has maintained a special sway over the content of textbooks that serve students across the United States. During the Cold War, Texas shaped the work of every major national textbook publisher. Today, one of every 10 public school students in the United States is a Texan, and publishers still don’t want to print books that can’t be used in the state. [emphasis: Peanut Gallery]

…More than the inclusion of any particular event or figure, it is this deeply simplistic, often anti-historical approach that presents the greatest obstacle to [American] students learning how the past can inform contemporary problems and debates.

…This approach fails to teach students about the often complicated, sometimes painful reality of our nation’s history, with its equal parts violence, dispossession and disenfranchisement and democracy, individual freedoms and justice.

Once again, Texas’s board of education exposed how poorly we teach history – The Washington Post

‘Please let me go:’ Video shows 6-year-old girl crying, pleading during arrest at Orlando school

Orlando Police Department officials previously declined a public records request to release the body camera video showing Kaia Rolle’s arrest at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy on Sept. 19, 2019, citing student privacy issues, however, the family’s attorney was given a copy and shared it with local news outlets.

…Kaia’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, previously told News 6 her granddaughter was acting out in class, a side effect of a lack of sleep from a medical condition, so she was sent to the office. While Kaia was there, a staff member grabbed her wrists in order to calm her down and that’s when she lashed out and kicked, according to Kirkland.

Turner wrote in Kaia’s arrest report that Beverly Stoute, whom he identified as an assistant principal, was the victim in the case and she wanted to press charges because Kaia kicked her on the legs and punched her arms several times.

‘Please let me go:’ Video shows 6-year-old girl crying, pleading during arrest at Orlando school

The arrest record is the legal record of the incident. You don’t call the police unless you want someone arrested. Period. The school denial of the goal being the child’s arrest is galling. Lying to save their own jobs should preclude them from working in education.

Similarly, the department’s apology is meaningless. It is 100% responsible for their officers’ behavior. There are no mistakes in law enforcement, only justice and injustice.

Finally, Beverly Stoute is the perpetrator in this injustice, not the victim. Any other telling of these events is an outright lie.

As long as we tolerate people like Stoute and Turner working in our country’s schools no child is safe.