What’s going on with the Texas State Board of Education?
The 15-member elected board had decided that the men who fought and died at The Alamo shouldn’t be called “heroic” in Texas textbooks that tells the story of the 1836 struggle.
Then the SBOE backed off. The men who died were heroes after all. Politicians from Gov. Greg Abbott on down had objected to the eliminating of the “heroic” description of the fight.
The Texas Tribune reported: The board has been streamlining curriculum standards for social studies for the past several months, with the aim of cutting back on the instructional time for teachers and allowing them to go into depth in their courses. The workgroup’s recommendations, submitted to the State Board of Education in April by a volunteer working group of area experts, called the term “value charged” and recommended its removal. They also struck out a reference to a letter Col. William B. Travis wrote just before the siege titled “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World.”
I’m not a Texas native. My wife, sons and I got here as soon as we could. I grew up in Oregon and studied The Alamo battle back in the day, in junior high school and later in high school. By the time we moved to Texas in 1984 I was well aware of the “heroic” stature that the men had achieved when they fought against a huge military force of Mexican soldiers who laid siege to the mission.
C’mon, SBOE! Don’t mess with what we know to be true. Those men fought heroically. They died as heroes. Didn’t the Texians who took the fight to Mexico’s armed forces rally to the battle cry “Remember the Alamo”?
Part of the change seems to have something to do with the short shrift textbooks give to civil rights leaders. As the Tribune reports: Those in support of the workgroup’s initial proposal argued that using language like “heroic” for the defenders of the Alamo and minimizing the contribution of civil rights leaders whitewashes the history of Texas. “The curriculum standards that guide what we learn in our public school classrooms don’t teach enough and don’t teach the truth,” said Lamontria Edwards, a student at Paul Quinn College in Dallas.
Fair point. However, let’s be sure our texts also teach children of the heroism of our civil rights movement in addition to teaching them of the heroes who died at The Alamo.