Another vote, another win for the conservative majority on Texas’ State Board of Education.
The 11-4 vote today on the latest draft of Texas’ high school history standards comes as the story has blown up, attracting intense media coverage from national outlets including the New York Times and Fox News, which reported live from Austin all week.
“In all honesty, it was a debacle for public education,” says Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, a liberal watchdog that tracks the board.
Here’s a rundown of the highlights of the new draft standards, according to media reports and the Texas Freedom Network:
The board added a requirement that economics students “analyze the decline of the U.S. dollar including abandonment of the gold standard.” Students must also learn about Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek, author of libertarian urtext The Road to Serfdom.
The famous clause requiring history students to “Describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association” remains in the standards, even after its author, Don McLeroy, lost his primary this month.
According to TFN: “the board stripped Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about the influence of Enlightenment thinkers on political revolutions from the 1700s to today. In Jefferson’s place, the board’s religious conservatives succeeded in inserting Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. They also removed the reference to ‘Enlightenment ideas’ in the standard, requiring that students should simply learn about the influence of the ‘writings’ of various thinkers (including Calvin and Aquinas).”
A final vote, preceded by another public hearing and another chance to offer amendments, is scheduled for May.
How did the board get to this point? Check out TPMmuckraker’s coverage of this story going back to September.