Texas looking at cuts to social studies courses, removing politi - FOX34 Lubbock

Texas looking at cuts to social studies courses, removing political figures including Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from curriculum

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Texas State Board of Education is pursuing cuts to learning standards in history classes across the state, as a preliminary vote was approved to axe references and required teaching to political figures like Helen Keller, 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and Hillary Clinton.

Clinton Gill with the Texas State Teachers Association said there are many other ways to reduce these required standards than exclude important historical figures.

“To exclude the types of people that have a major impact on upcoming females that can be shown these are people you can aspire to be as the first Presidential candidate to be a woman and somebody who had severe disabilities and overcame them to make a great life for herself. Those are the things we feel, as educators, need to be taught to students because it shows that there is a way forward even though you may have very many obstacles against you,” Gill said.

Gill said the key to teaching students more efficiently is cutting the amount of standardized testing around the state that is required. 

“If we can lessen the emphasis on standardized testing and get teachers back to actually teaching a curriculum that’s not tied to a test score, we could teach a whole lot more,” Gill said. “We can teach all of the standards and then some because we’re not focused on one particular test and only the things that are on that test.”

Gill said Texas is seen as a nationwide leader in curriculum, and that whatever the state does, other states will follow.

“This proposal by the State Board of Education to not require Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller, and those other political folks, could eventually happen all across the United States, and that’s what we do not want to see happen, because it’s important,” Gill said.

Gill said incorporating Texas history into U.S. history as a whole would save both teachers and students plenty of time.

“We’re spending a whole year teaching Texas history when it could easily be incorporated into U.S. history as a whole, providing more time for the history of an entire nation. It’s important for us to know our background, but there are not other states that spend a whole year just teaching about the history of their own state,” Gill said.

Gill added the state could be setting a dangerous precedent by removing historical figures from textbooks, saying what is important in U.S. history could become subjective.

The board's vote is only preliminary, and they can amend the curriculum before taking a final vote in November.

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