Social studies changes perform a disservice to students


Juleanna Culilap

Suggested changes in the state’s social studies curriculum minimizes the importance of several significant figures in United State history and this is a disservice to students.

 In a recent vote by the State Board of Education, changes were made to the history curriculum that include the removal of Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the course of study, and a line referring to the defenders of the Alamo’s actions as heroic.

Before a November deadline, the board has the chance to make revisions to their curriculum. The board must reconsider their changes and alter the TEKS to include female politicians, figures with disabilities, and remove political views and opinions from curriculum.

Hillary Clinton is a controversial stateswoman to some, and is unpopular in conservative Texas. A collection of polls leading up to the 2016 election saw 54.4 percent of Texans viewing Clinton as unfavorable, and 41.8 percent as favorable. Despite her unpopularity, the fact remains that no female politician has gone as far as Clinton in American history. At a time when only a fifth of legislators in Congress are women, it is important to have female visibility in politics to inspire girls.

Helen Keller is the only blind, deaf, and disabled female historical figure taught about in Texas. Without Helen Keller’s presence is the state’s classrooms, students will not be exposed to seeing disabilities as normal, and not as something that could hold people back. This could not only leave young Texans unaware and uninformed about deafness and blindness, but also performs a major disservice to students with disabilities.

The board’s wording that pinned Texans’ actions at the Alamo as heroic might not seem significant, but the objectivity of history is integral to a fair education, and focusing only on the “heroism” of Texans fails to tell the whole story of what happened in 1836.

Meanwhile, lessons on evangelist and staunch conservative Billy Graham remained in the curriculum. The board consists of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, and while the majority gets the call on the syllabus, political language should never be inserted into education.

The state’s move to exclude the only female politician and disabled female leader part of the curriculum is a disaster. Representing women in all roles is a crucial part of children’s education and can help inspire girls to achieve their dreams. Fortunately, the board still has the chance to include Clinton and Keller, remove their opinions from the TEKS, and must revise it in the best interest of students statewide.