SBOE meets to approve "streamlined" social studies curriculum standards

Approaching the podium, Dallas middle school teacher Ron Francis faced the circle of 15 large, wooden desks at the Texas State Board of Education’s September meeting. The board was discussing changes to the social studies curriculum standards, the result of a 10-month-long process to cut back on what teachers have to cover in the classroom.

But Francis, a 6-foot-tall Army veteran who teaches in Highland Park ISD, was more concerned about what the board wasn’t cutting. The standards currently list slavery alongside three other causes for Texas’ involvement in the Civil War, which he said downplays its historical role.

“Get rid of tariffs, states’ rights and sectionalism,” Francis told the board bluntly. “Thank you.”

This week, the board will vote on final changes to curriculum standards, which proponents say provide teachers with clarity. But they’re still historically inaccurate, according to Francis and other critics. The updated standards still include states’ rights and sectionalism, now relegated to “contributing factors” in Texas’ participation in the Civil War, while slavery has been elevated to a “central role.”

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