SAN ANTONIO – The Texas State Teachers Association is calling the delay in updating the social studies curriculum an “extremist attack on history curriculum” and an “attack on teachers.”
On Tuesday, the Texas State Board of Education voted to delay a revision of the state’s social studies curriculum until 2025.
“The extremists’ latest attack resulted in yesterday’s decision by a majority of the State Board of Education to delay approval of a much-improved social studies curriculum that would recognize the contributions of all Texans to our culture and school life. It also would provide some much-needed updates to our outdated curriculum standards,” TSTA President Ovidia Molina said in a statement.
Parents and conservative activists publicly testified Tuesday ahead of the board’s decision, imploring the board to hold off on approving an updated curriculum.
According to Austin NPR station KUT, Mary Elizabeth Castle, a senior policy advisor with the conservative group Texas Values, testified that information about the LGBTQ+ pride movement should be removed from the curriculum guidelines.
State Board of Education board member Rebecca Bell-Metereau, a Democrat who represents District 5, then asked Castle if students should learn about the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
“I don’t believe the topic is appropriate for the subject at all. So, I don’t think it should be addressed,” Castle said, according to KUT.
“Educators celebrate the growing diversity in Texas public schools and communities, including the contributions of the LBGTQ+ community as well as people of color. Right-wing political extremists, including some elected officials, fear diversity and have been using the issue to try to drive a wedge between teachers and the parents whose support is critical for classroom success. Lies, such as critical race theory, which isn’t taught in Texas public schools, are among their weapons,” Molina said.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law in June 2021 that restricts how current events and America’s history of racism can be taught in Texas schools, the Texas Tribune reported. It’s commonly referred to as the “critical race theory” bill. A full explainer of what critical race theory is can be found here.
“This proposed, new curriculum was developed by well-respected educators with the needs of schoolchildren, our state’s future leaders, in mind. But too many members of the board chose to yield to lies and fear,” Molina said.
According to the Texas Tribune, board members said they did not like the proposed order in which kids would be taught Texas, U.S. and world history and needed more time to research and come up with a new order.
“Delaying the process could allow more conservative, ‘anti-critical race theory’ candidates to be on the State Board of Education when the standards are revisited,” according to the Texas Tribune. “The debate over this year’s revisions has grown heated as conflict continues to swirl over how America’s history of racism should be taught and what books kids should be able access on campuses.”
Molina called the delay in updating the curriculum a political stunt and insisted that if state leaders are serious about addressing the teacher shortage “they will quit stirring up these extremist political stunts or teacher morale may plummet even more.”
What is critical race theory? Explaining the discipline that Texas’ governor wants to “abolish”