In two party-line 9 to 5 votes yesterday, the Republican majority on the Texas State Board of Education adopted controversial changes to the state’s social study guidelines that reflect a more socially conservative viewpoint. AP reports that over 200 amendments were offered this week to draft standards that had been prepared over the last 18 months by groups of teachers and university faculty. Today’s Dallas Morning News quotes board member Don McLeroy who said the changes are an attempt to balance a curriculum that has been slanted toward liberal viewpoints. One of the curriculum changes involves students’ approach to religious liberty and church-state separation. According to a release from the Texas Education Agency, the following will be added to the Government curriculum standards:
Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed its free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.”
Responding to criticism of earlier changes (see prior posting), the Board restored Thomas Jefferson to the list of political philosophers that students will study in world history. He was already included in the U.S. History and the Government curricula.