FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jose Medina, Media Coordinator, ACLU of Texas, (512) 478-7300 x 103; [email protected]
AUSTIN – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas today called for the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) to revisit its procedure for revising curriculum and textbook standards because members have disregarded board policies and experts’ recommendations throughout the nearly year-long process, resulting in a proposed curriculum that presents a troubling and biased revision of history.
“The State Board of Education has abused its power by inserting their narrow, personal beliefs into the development of what should be a world class program of study,” said ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke.
The public has 30 days to comment on amendments to a revised social studies curriculum released today by the SBOE. The board is scheduled to meet May 19 to adopt new standards for social studies textbooks. The curriculum standards are revised every ten years.
Because there could be as many as three new members on the board after the November elections, the ACLU of Texas is asking the board to put a moratorium on their deliberations until new members are sworn in next January.
“Today’s school children are tomorrow’s work force. Board members have jeopardized the economic future of Texas because, by putting ideology over scholarship, they risk undermining quality education,” said Matt Simpson, ACLU of Texas policy strategist.
“Like every elected official in Texas, each member elected to the State Board of Education is bound by the rule of law,” said Lisa Graybill, ACLU of Texas Legal Director. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, the ACLU of Texas is concerned that the state board is not complying with its statutory obligations.”
In addition to SBOE abuse of power, the ACLU of Texas objects to the proposals based on a preliminary examination of the amended standards. The ACLU of Texas believes, if enacted, the amendments would:
- present a sectarian view of history instead of that put forward by expert educators and historians
- denigrate the rights of minorities and women by intentionally distorting and minimizing their roles as historical figures
- portray the extension of civil rights to those who were denied those rights -- specifically African Americans, Latinos and women -- as a gift from the majority
“Unless the board starts putting facts and quality education ahead of personal beliefs, the school children of Texas will be the losers,” added Burke. “The actions of the board of education have so seriously compromised its stature and brought into question its legitimacy that no one can take this curriculum seriously.”