Texas students will be back in school soon and they’re going crack open some brand new social studies textbooks. The books are the result of fierce fights over what kids should learn in school. Lots of American school districts struggle with this question, but nobody fights like Texans.
In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education – a body dominated by social conservatives – created some controversial standards for what kids have to learn in history classes. Critics say those standards lionize conservative heroes like Newt Gingrich and Phyllis Shlafly. They downplay slavery as a cause of the Civil War. Critics also complain that the standards over-emphasize the Bible’s influence on America’s founders.
Ashton Marra speaks with Us & Them host Trey Kay about how the new Texas social studies books list Moses as a major influence on the writers of our nation’s founding documents. They also speak about Texas textbook watchdogs, Mel and Norma Gabler. Fifty-some years ago, Mel was a clerk for an oil company and Norma was a housewife. But they had a huge impact on what got into textbooks – not just in Texas, but around the country.