The Texas State Board of Education released amendments to the state's school curriculum that would essentially rewrite history on Thursday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union's Blog of Rights.
If the proposed amendments are implemented, students in kindergarten to twelfth grade could be affected for the next 10 years, because Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks nationwide. Changes the board makes to its standards often end up in textbooks purchased by other state school districts, according to the ACLU.
The New York Times said board member Don McLeroy introduced amendment after amendment at the board meeting:
"McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she "and her followers promoted eugenics," that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan's "leadership in restoring national confidence" following Jimmy Carter's presidency and that students be instructed to "describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association." The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, "Guys, you're rewriting history now!" Nevertheless, most of McLeroy's proposed amendments passed by a show of hands."
The ACLU said from a civil liberties point of view, these changes not only minimize our constitutional protection of separation of church and state, but also distort the rights of minorities and women and minimize their roles in history, among others. The ACLU said:
"The proposed revised standards deserve close scrutiny. Some of the changes may seem relatively harmless at first glance, but it's important to remember that these changes will affect the education of a generation. If an entire generation of children grow up thinking that it's permissible for our government to favor one view of religion over others, what will the next generation believe? If these same children fail to understand the importance of the struggle for civil rights, how can we be sure that they will remain committed to correcting such abuses in the future?"
"The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed amendments to the curriculum released today. Rest assured we will be submitting ours and encouraging others to do so too."