Texas education board votes to remove Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from curriculum
Removing Hillary Clinton from the course material would save teachers 30 minutes and removing Helen Keller would save about 40 minutes, according to Texas Board of Education
It has been announced that teachers at schools in Texas will not be required to teach lessons on Hillary Clinton or political activist Helen Keller. The Texas Board of Education voted on September 14 to remove any course material that features Clinton and Keller from the social studies curriculum in the state after both the women received low scores on a questionnaire about the background and legacy of historical figures.
It was reported that the board is attempting to "streamline" the curriculum in the state by figuring out which historical figures were "essential to learn about and who wasn't". The vote to remove the women came after a volunteer work group of 15 members created a scale to grade the figures.
The choice was made by the group after they were all asked to answer a number of questions about famous people from history, the Dallas Morning News reported. The former first lady and the Democratic presidential nominee Clinton only scored five on the scale of 20. Keller, a political activist and the first deaf and blind person who received a bachelor of science degree in arts, was only able to score a seven.
The group also made an estimate that removing Clinton from the course material would save teachers 30 minutes of teaching time and removing Keller from the curriculum would save about 40 minutes. According to the publication, the figures who got a perfect score will still be in the course material and this includes lawyer Barbara Jordan, a Civil Rights Movement leader, and Sam Houston, a former governor of Texas.
One teacher from Round Rock, Missy Matthews told the publication that the goal for all of this had been to "simplify" the curriculum. She said: "We tried to make it as objective as possible." She also said that students in Texas are required to study about important figures in their classes. Clinton had been taught to high school students and Keller to third grade children.
On September 14, the education committee in Texas reversed the recommendation to remove the word "heroic" when they were teaching the children about the men who used to guard the Alamo in history class. The committee said that the word "heroic" in referrence to the Battle of Alamo had been a "value-charged" term. Governor Gregg Abbott, however, said in a tweet that children need to be taught that the Alamo defenders were "heroic".
He posted: "Stop political correctness in our schools. Of course, Texas schoolchildren should be taught that Alamo defenders were "Heroic!" I fully expect the State Board of Education to agree."
The removal of Clinton and Keller from the curriculum does not mean that teachers cannot teach it to the children. The board is set to vote again on the curriculum changes in November to help finalize them.
In 2013, the Texas Board of Education had invited controversy over its votes when the approval of textbooks that did not include references to creationism as an alternative to evolution was delayed because of opposition from Christian conservatives, according to CBS.