Debate over U.S. history curriculum in Texas schools resumes

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The so-called curriculum experts appointed by the State Board of Education have submitted their latest suggestions to proposed social studies standards that will be used in Texas schools. In preparation for what is expected to be a heated public hearing before the state board next week, the six experts offered their opinions on standards that were drafted by writing teams of teachers and academics for history, government and other subjects.

Most of the debate will be over U.S. history, and three experts appointed by social conservatives on the board indicated that some revisions still need to be made before the board approves the curriculum standards early next year. For example, evangelical minister Peter Marshall recommended that if high school students are going to learn about "conservative organizations and individuals," the list should include talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

Marshall and another of the social conservative experts, David Barton of Aledo-based WallBuilders, raised eyebrows in July when they suggested that civil rights activist Cesar Chavez was not an important enough figure to be singled out in high school history books. In his latest review document, Marshall said he can now accept Chavez' inclusion in the standards since several other prominent individuals were added in the most recent version. The standards will dictate what is taught in social studies classes in elementary and secondary schools, and also provide the basis for textbooks and tests.
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