As the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) considers radical changes to the educational standards (TEKS) for K-8 social studies classes, the Texas House Freedom Caucus is calling for substantial corrections.
“The proposed changes, Mr. Chairman, are unacceptable and in many cases illegal,” said State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, in a letter sent today to Keven Ellis (R), chairman of the SBOE:
We are watching these changes closely and will not hesitate to intervene during the next legislative session, should the need arise, to protect Texas children from being further indoctrinated and taken advantage of. We demand the proposed changes be substantially amended before further action is taken.
Middleton highlighted several issues with the current draft of the social studies standards, including forcing teachers to discuss controversial issues, eliminating Texas history as a standalone course in fourth and seventh grades, and guiding “children away from the Judeo-Christian foundation upon which our state and country was founded.”
Accordingly, Middleton says the “proposed standards for Grade 8 also violate H.B. 3979 by requiring educators to discuss the controversial issues such as the ‘pride’ movement, but only as framed alongside with the Civil Rights Movement.”
The removal of Texas history as a standalone course is of particular concern, with the House Freedom Caucus leader stating, “To trade the rich aspects of the standalone Texas history courses, which benefit all Texans and keeps Texas Texan, in favor of this watered-down approach is something we fervently demand you reject.”
Additionally, Middleton says the new seventh-grade standard requiring students to consider “different perspectives on the siege of the fall of the Alamo” is the “most substantial disgrace,” as it will “pollut[e] the minds of Texas children by asking them to consider the perspective of the murderous tyrant Santa Anna at the Alamo.”
Allow us be frank: General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was a murderous, genocidal tyrant who stands right alongside Adolph Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin in the annals of history. Under no circumstances should Texas children be taught the “other side” of the Nazi-like tyrants our forefathers valiantly fought to allow us to be where we all are today. While educators have a responsibility to help students understand differing perspectives on controversial issues, the proposed revisions require educators promote potentially dishonest accounts of the meaning of the Battle of the Alamo.
“In Texas, we will always remember the Alamo, and we will not stand idly by as the SBOE turns Texas history on its head,” added Middleton.
Lastly, Middleton says the proposed revisions require that educators teach an unbalanced view of world religions and unnecessarily introduces children to occult practices, such as divination.
Concerned with the plethora of time devoted to Hinduism, Buddhism, and their tenets in comparison to Christianity, Middleton highlights that “the proposed standards further unnecessarily remove a Judeo-Christian staple of our culture from the classroom by replacing the popular name of the calendar era that preceded the birth of Jesus Christ, ‘Before Christ’ or ‘B.C.,’ with ‘Before the Common Era,’ or ‘B.C.E.’”
Middleton also demanded that any occult teachings be removed from the standards, specifically highlighting a third-grade example that requires teachers to “give examples of oracle bones and explain their purpose.”
“Oracle bones, we have learned, were used by ancient cultures for divination in occultic rituals to predict the future and communicate with spirits. Why the workgroup thought it to be essential that children specifically learn this practice is a mystery to us,” said Middleton. “But regardless, the requirement and those like it must be removed from the proposed changes.”
The State Board of Education will meet this Tuesday at 9 a.m. for discussions regarding the changes to social studies standards.