Hispanics' roles add to social studies debate in Austin

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Scratch Henry Cisneros, but add Dolores Huerta, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Sandra Cisneros, Henry B. Gonzalez and Irma Rangel to the list of important Hispanic figures that Texas school children might be discussing in the future.

State education leaders are still in the early stages of writing new curriculum standards for social studies that will shape future history and geography books.

And by the time those new textbooks arrive in fall 2013, a majority of the children attending Texas public schools will be Hispanic...

...The late Henry B. Gonzalez of San Antonio, a member of the U.S. House for 38 years, could end up in fourth grade history books as an example “of individuals who modeled active participation in the democratic process.”

And second grade students would learn about Irma Rangel, who in 1976 became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas Legislature and chaired the House Higher Education Committee when the current textbooks were written a decade ago. She died in 2003.

Hispanic children “want to see some brown faces and in Texas there are a lot of people with Hispanic surnames who are a part of Texas history. So that's easy to come by,” said State Board of Education member Patricia Hardy, R-Fort Worth, who has 30 years' experience as a world history and geography teacher and five years experience as director of the social studies curriculum for the Weatherford Independent School District.

“But you cannot distort Texas history. You cannot give people an elevated place in history when their place was not elevated,” she added...

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