Texas Board of Education expected to punt controversial social studies overhaul until 2025

Getty Images

A plan to revise how Texas schools teach history is expected to be pushed back until at least 2025 after Christian and conservative groups pressured state school board members to delay the move.

During an extended meeting Tuesday, the State Board of Education (SBOE) opted to gather more information on a proposal to revise its social studies curriculum in state teaching standards, known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

A vote on the revised standards was initially scheduled for November before Tuesday’s decision.

A request for comment sent Wednesday by The Christian Post to the SBOE was not immediately returned.

The move comes after a meeting on Aug. 1 to discuss the new TEKS curriculum, which are the standards used for all Texas public and charter schools. 

In that meeting, several of the proposed changes were brought up by concerned parents and citizens, including a draft proposal that replaced the traditional BC/AD dating system with BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).

Other proposed changes included eliminating teaching Texas state history for fourth and seventh graders in favor of an approach that teaches both Texas and U.S. history along with other aspects of world history and requiring teachers to discuss controversial issues, such as police brutality and LGBT issues, without offering any opposing views.

But it was the proposed changes to effectively “minimize Christianity’s effect on our society by imposing an unequal balance in teaching world religions” that caught the attention of the Texas Freedom Caucus, a group of House Republican lawmakers. 

In a letter to SBOE Chairman Keven Ellis, the caucus warned that the proposed TEKS revisions would require teachers to offer an “unbalanced view” of world religions and “unnecessarily introduced children to occult practices,” including divination.

The Aug. 29 letter cited what the group called a “most disturbing example” requiring teachers to “give examples of oracle bones and explain their purpose” to third-grade students.

“Why the workgroup thought it to be essential that children specifically learn this practice is a mystery to us, but regardless, the requirement and those like it must be removed from the proposed changes,” the letter added.

The group also warned that the proposed changes could violate Texas law by requiring teachers to teach “subjects associated with critical race theory” and “foster disrespect for law enforcement, and further guides children away from the Judeo-Christian foundation upon which our state and country was founded.”

“As our society was built upon Judeo-Christian values, we are concerned that more time — or at the very least, equal time — is not dedicated to the study of Christianity,” the letter added.

In an automated Aug. 24 email to stakeholders, member Georgina Cecilia Pérez, who represents District 1, which includes El Paso and other counties along the Texas-Mexico border, pushed back against allegations of scaling back on curriculum involving Christianity.

“The draft we are working from includes at least 30 references to Christianity — its beliefs, history, and influences in this country and worldwide,” including the Ten Commandments as a moral and legal code, and how the Commandments and the “Judeo-Christian legal tradition” were “significant influences on the foundation of our Constitution,” Pérez wrote. 

She also stated that Texas law requires the SBOE to complete its social studies review by the end of the year. It’s unclear how that deadline impacted the board’s decision Tuesday.

Out of 15 members of the SBOE, nine are Republican. 

While the board was expected to vote on the standards in November, postponing it until after the November election could mean more conservative-leaving members are elected, potentially impacting any future decision.

The SBOE’s current session runs from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. 

Was this article helpful?

Want more articles like this?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone by making a one-time donation today.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Free Religious Freedom Updates

Join thousands of others to get the FREEDOM POST newsletter for free, sent twice a week from The Christian Post.

Most Popular

Free Religious Freedom Updates

A religious liberty newsletter that is a must-read for people of faith.

More In U.S.