Group of students raising hands during a lesson in the classroom. [Illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The State Board of Education in Texas voted to keep in high-school textbooks that “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
The board also voted on Friday to remove certain historical figures from the teaching syllabus, such as former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton and author and political activist Helen Keller, as part of an effort to “streamline” the curriculum in public schools.
The working group utilized a ranking system to make decisions about which historical figures to teach about. The questions included: “Did the person trigger a watershed change,” “Was the person from an underrepresented group,” and “Will their impact stand the test of time,” The Dallas Morning News
“Out of 20 points, Keller scored a seven and Clinton scored a five,” the newspaper reported. Cutting Clinton and Keller was perceived as saving teachers 30 minutes and 40 minutes of teaching time, respectively.
In contrast, local members of the Texas legislature got perfect scores. While US President Donald Trump is not included in the list, all students are required to learn about the current president, governor and mayor.
The board also included Moses as an influence on the writing of the nation’s founding documents, while it removed political philosopher Thomas Hobbes from that section.
The vote on Friday was not final and can still be amended by the board before the final vote in November.
At this time, the change in curricula will not affect textbooks and other instructional material, The Dallas Morning News
But, with more than five million students in Texas public schools, the system has a major influence on the American textbook industry and education in general. Together with California, it leads the textbook industry in approving content, curriculum standards and supplemental materials for public schools.
This is not the first time all eyes focused on Texas’s education system. In 2002 and 2014, the board adopted a new generation of social studies products. Moses was mentioned explicitly in learning standards in Texas, and publishers responded by including him in textbooks, according to National Public Radio.
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