Several conservative groups have raised concerns about the proposed TEKS, saying the standards violate House Bill (HB) 3979, or Senate Bill (SB) 3. This bill sought to ban critical race theory in Texas public schools.
The Texas Freedom Caucus, a group of representatives from conservative states, sent a letter to SBOE President Kevin Ellis on Monday morning criticizing the TEKS project.
“The proposed changes require educators to violate Texas law by teaching subjects associated with critical race theory,” they write.
“The changes also eliminate the teaching of Texas history as stand-alone courses, which is a centuries-old tradition of Texas schools.”
Proposed changes indeed, drop the one-year Texas history courses that were previously taught in fourth and seventh grades.
Between third and fifth grade, there is no discussion of Texas or United States history. Instead, the program has a strong focus on world history and invites students to examine a host of global cultures.
In sixth grade, a small portion of the year is devoted to American history, but only up to the American Revolution. Most of this year is also devoted to the study of world history.
Of 15 major topics for seventh-grade social studies, only one mentions the Texas Revolution and another speaks briefly about the founding of the Republic of Texas. These two elements are set within a larger discussion of the United States’ westward expansion and the pre-war period.
One point asks students to “use primary and secondary sources to compare different perspectives on the siege and fall of the Alamo.”
The Texas Freedom Caucus criticized this topic in its letter, “General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was a murderous and genocidal tyrant. Never should the children of Texas be taught the “other side” of the Nazi-like tyrants that our ancestors valiantly fought to allow us to be where we all are today.
Amid the increased attention to world history, there is a dearth of TEKS discussing Judeo-Christian belief systems as contributors to the development of thought and civilization.
In the fourth grade TEKS there is a point describing “the central ideas of Judaism, including monotheism, and the Ten Commandments as a moral and legal code”.
Regarding Christianity, there is a sub-theme that deals with “central ideas of Christianity, including the role of Jesus and the concepts of incarnation, repentance and caring for the sick and poor”.
While Judeo-Christian belief systems receive limited discussion, an entire unit is devoted to East Asian belief systems like Confucianism and Hinduism.
In the TEKS offered for high school classes there are also notable changes. In the United States History course, there is no instruction on the national mottos “E Pluribus Unum” and “In God We Trust”.
TEKS Sociology asks students to “define sex, gender, and sexual orientation and differentiate between their distinguishing characteristics.”
In this course, students will also learn about “the progressions of institutional racism, institutional sexism, institutional ageism, and institutional poverty and analyze their impacts on society.”
The concept of institutional or structural racism is one of the core tenets of critical race theory, asserting that racist biases exist within the institutions of society.
In the new Mexican American Studies course, a subject connects the founding of the United States Border Patrol to the disenfranchisement of Mexican Americans and immigrants.
The TEKS projects also seem at odds with the aspect of SB 3 that gives teachers the option to discuss or not discuss controversial social topics.
If current drafts are finalized, teachers will need to teach students how to “identify and analyze how current issues in social institutions, including family, economy, government, education, religion, media, criminal justice system and health care, lead to social problems”. change.”
The Texas Freedom Caucus isn’t the only group with concerns about the proposed standards.
Texas Values, a conservative advocacy group, is encourage parents to “come to Austin and testify against the radical proposals and encourage the council to teach a comprehensive history to our K-12 students.”
At tuesday meeting, there will be a period of public testimony. In addition to this testimony, the members of the SBOE will give their comments on the projects in progress. There will be no final vote at this meeting.
The meeting can be streamed live here.