On May 21, the Texas State Board of Education passed the social studies standards that it had been debating for over a year; however, a California state legislator has moved to block the standards from influencing the textbooks in his state.
The decision came after some had wanted to remove or diminish references in the Texas textbooks to Christmas, Independence Day, and America’s religious heritage. A majority of the Texas State Board stood firm, and voted 9-5 to strike down any attempts to rewrite history.
Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute, said that it was a satisfying win.
“It’s been tremendous,” he said, “because so many teachers, parents, experts and professors from across the state have been working to send a unified message to the Board of Education that they don’t want atheists and the ACLU rewriting their history – and that request was honored.”
An 11-3 bipartisan vote approved strong language with regard to religious freedom, which includes actual language from the U.S. Constitution and comparing and contrasting that to the popular phrase “separation of church and state.” The mainstream media has been reporting that the standards limit the role of Thomas Jefferson, justify McCarthyism and focus too much on the religious heritage of the country.
Now, California State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), has introduced legislation that would ensure that none of the new Texas standards be included in his state’s textbooks. “The careless and hasty effort by some California legislators,” Saenz said, “to condemn Texas is based on inaccurate and false information.”
He says that Jefferson is listed at least five times throughout the standards and it simply encourages students to discuss the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. “With all due respect,” said Saenz, “considering the state of affairs in California, we think they’d serve their state well by following what Texas is doing in the long run.”