Skip to content

Results of State Board of Education Efforts

Thank you for your support and encouragement in our efforts to change the Texas high school history curriculum.

Because of our efforts together Texas and other children will get a better curriculum for the next several years. This is actually huge because of the number of children involved.

What did we gain?

We actually got the curriculum changed! This was incredible considering the majority Republican board that was not interested in changing these items, the fact that we came in on the last step of a multiple step process, and that we had not gone through this process before.  The Texas Education Agency is still cleaning up the final version as of Nov. 20, but the final version should not be very different from what is listed below and was approved by the board on Nov. 16.

There were three main standards that we commented on:

13(F) “explain how Arab rejection of the state of Israel has led to ongoing conflict”

This was changed to:

13(F): discuss factors contributing to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the rejection of the existence of the state of Israel by the Arab League and a majority of Arab nations”

We are thrilled with this change because it distinguishes the Arab people from states. Numerous of our testimonies were about the danger, both historic and societal, of biasing children against a people.

We are also thrilled with this change because it brings into the conversation factors (note plural) that contribute to the conflict as opposed to providing a view that there is only one.

14. History. "The student understands the development of radical Islamic fundamentalism and the subsequent use of terrorism by some of its adherents" . The student is expected to:
(A) summarize the development and impact of radical Islamic fundamentalism on events in the second half of the 20th century, including terrorism and the growth of terrorist groups ; and
(B) explain the U.S. response to terrorism from September 11, 2001.

changed to:
14. History. The student understands the development and use of radical Islamic terrorism in the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century. The student is expected to:
(A) discuss the impact of geopolitical influences on the development of radical Islamic terrorism ; and
(B) discuss the impact of radical Islamic terrorism on global events; and
(C) explain the U.S. response to the events surrounding September 11, 2001 and other acts of radical Islamic terrorism.

Although not as great a result we were able to have ‘fundamentalism’ removed and replaced with the word radical. More importantly, we were also able to change (A) to discuss the impact of geopolitical influences on developing radicalization. In the previous version it was only religion that was causing turmoil; now the implications of geopolitical actions also need to be reviewed by Texas students.  After all, the Abrahamic religions are all over 1400 years old; it's the situation on the ground that changes.

24(D) explain how developments in Islam influenced law and government in the Muslim world such as secularism, nationalism, and fundamentalism.

was changed to:

24(D) explain how geopolitical and religious influences have impacted law and government in the Muslim world.

Here again we were able to add the impact of geopolitical influences into the curriculum.

We started out thinking there was little we could do. We were coming in to the last step of a multiple step process of reviewing specific student skills to be developed as well as knowledge and skills requirements. Having read the news on September 14 that students would be required to: “explain Arab rejection of the state of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” we created Texas Coalition for Human Rights.

We are extremely grateful to the many people who provided assistance on very short notice. At one point the board mentioned that we had over 100 public comments against the 13(F). The Republicans said that they had received 37 public comments supporting the original language and had received 30 Fedex documents on the day of the public testimonies.

The bias of the board was obvious; when a Palestinian testified he was asked no questions by members of the board. When the representative Jewish Federations of Texas testified he was asked questions for several minutes so that he could elaborate his position.  It became a little strange when the Jewish Federations of Texas representative started to be asked questions about Palestinians!

Special thanks to all who helped put together and present testimonies and public comments; without them we would not have had the impact we did.

Thanks again!!!

Reference Documents: