Texas ed board split sharply before final vote

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by KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on May 21, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Pending a final vote, Texas high schoolers will learn about Thomas Jefferson after all.

The 15-member State Board of Education split down party lines on dozens of amendments to the educational standards.

Those standards will have a profound impact on what Texas students learn over the next decade.

Here are some of the board's latest decisions:

  • Under the standards, high school history students will have to study Thomas Jefferson.  He had been deleted in an earlier draft.
  • The board decided it would be inappropriate to teach Texas students that the abbreviations BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) can be used in place of BC and AD when referring to a year.
  • Under the standards, educators must teach why communist economies failed, and capitalist economies succeeded after World War II.
  • Students must also learn about “the benefits of the free enterprise system.”

Board members like Pat Hardy -- a history teacher for 30 years -- wanted students to compare America's economic systems with others, including communist systems.

"Let the students come to some of their own conclusions, when you come to conclusions on your own, then you understand why it's this or why it's that," Hardy said.

Conservative members like insurance salesman David Bradley believed it was important for Texas students to learn that America's system is better -- not compare it to communism.

"That gives the impression that there are benefits to communism - I mean, the teacher's going to have a hard time getting to that one,” Bradley said.

Throughout the meeting, some board members met in partisan groups to plan the amendments they'd offer.  Some members feel that taints the process, while others support the standards.

The board has been working on these standards for months.  In the last two days, they've made nearly 200 changes.

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