Historians Call on Texas State Board of Education to Delay Vote





Historians from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at El Paso have written an Open Letter to the Texas State Board of Education. The letter identifies specific problems with the proposed changes to the state’s social studies standards and recommends that the board delay adoption of the standards in order to solicit additional feedback from “qualified, credentialed content experts from the state’s colleges and universities” and the general public.

The historians call attention to the board’s general attempts to weaken the study of constitutional protections for religious liberty and to minimize the struggle of women and ethnic minorities for equal and civil rights. The open letter also points out the lack of historical knowledge on the part of some board members.

This call by historians is part of a growing manifestation of discontent with the proposed actions of the Texas State Board of Education. The Dallas Morning News recommended a delay in holding the final vote on the standards until after this year’s public elections of members of the board of education. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas State Legislature will hold its own hearing about the standards on April 28. State Senator Juan Hinojosa of McAllen has called to abolish the board of education and a Hispanic advocacy group from the University of Texas at Austin will hold a teach-in on the steps of the Texas state capitol on May 2. A variety of petitions are also circulating online via social networking and advocacy group websites. Additional information about the review process and an online archive of media coverage is available at http://tekswatch.utep.edu.

The letter is posted online at http://sensiblehistory.blogspot.com/p/letter.html and the letter’s authors invite signatures from all who research, write, teach, or share history with the public.

CONTACT:

Emilio Zamora, Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin, e.zamora@mail.utexas.edu, 512-739-0168

Keith A. Erekson, Assistant Professor of History, University of Texas at El Paso, kaerekson@utep.edu, 915-747-5878




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