Texans testify against historical snub

Placing+her+hands+on+the+face+of+President+Dwight+D.+Eisenhower%2C+Helen+Keller+along+with+her+companion+Polly+Thompson+met+Eisenhower+on+November+3%2C+1953.
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Texans testify against historical snub

Placing her hands on the face of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Helen Keller along with her companion Polly Thompson met Eisenhower on November 3, 1953.

Placing her hands on the face of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Helen Keller along with her companion Polly Thompson met Eisenhower on November 3, 1953.

National Archives

Placing her hands on the face of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Helen Keller along with her companion Polly Thompson met Eisenhower on November 3, 1953.

National Archives

National Archives

Placing her hands on the face of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Helen Keller along with her companion Polly Thompson met Eisenhower on November 3, 1953.

Lucas Barr, Editor-in-chief

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The State Board of Education heard testimonies in Austin Tuesday regarding proposed changes to the history curriculum, including the removal of many prominent historical figures. Concerned Texans spoke to the board’s 15 members weeks after backlash they faced from planning to cut Helen Keller out of the syllabus.

“Helen Keller overcame so much with some so many disabilities,” social studies department chair Jeff Crowe said. “She’s an example to other kids with special needs, and that you can be a great success and you can overcome monumental obstacles and challenges if you put your mind to it. By eliminating her from the curriculum, or making her optional, a lot of teachers may not teach it if it’s not a required concept.”

Pleas to keep Keller in the state’s schools include a testimony made by Robbie Caldwell, the Austin mother of 17-year-old Gabrielle Caldwell who is blind and deaf.

“Helen Keller is the only point of reference for deaf blindness because it is unlikely an educator, a government worker, a doctor would have any other interaction with any other person who was deaf blind,” Austin resident Robbie Caldwell said in a Dallas Morning News article. “We need Helen Keller to remain in our Texas curriculum.”

Her daughter stepped up to testify as well, for whom Keller served as a source of inspiration.

“I am hoping that you keep Helen Keller being taught in our schools. She traveled the world, worked very hard and helped a lot of people. She is a hero,” Gabrielle Caldwell said in the Dallas Morning News article. “I like to travel and want to travel the world. I study hard, too. I believe I can do these things because Helen Keller did them.”

In addition to Keller, the board also plans to remove Hillary Clinton, the only female United State Senator and stateswoman currently listed in the curriculum.

“It’s obviously a very politically charged time but the first female to ever run with a nomination for president of the United States,” Crowe said. “I think that she’s a great example to other women who are interested in running for elective office.”

School board members have one last chance to make changes or reintroduce Clinton and Keller before a final vote on the curriculum later this week.