The Texas Social Studies Curriculum

Recently, the Texas Board of Education approved a new social studies curriculum for the state that could have a major impact on the entire U.S. education system because these changes may have a national impact since the state is one of the nation’s biggest purchasers of textbooks and educational publishers often adopt their standards in most of the textbooks they publish. The new curriculum calls for, among other things, placing the writings of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president during the civil war, next to those of Abraham Lincoln, removing information about Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum because of his stance on the separation of church and state, and presenting Joe McCarthy in a more positive historical light. Additionally, board members rejected numerous proposals to include more Latino historical figures, and cut all references to the idea of gender as a social construct.

Many people who are concerned with these changes believe that they will serve to further marginalize and misrepresent oppressed groups. They say that students who are not White Christian males with conservative beliefs will not find many people like them represented within their textbooks.

Culturally responsive educators know that, even with good texts, it is important to supplement the educational materials provided by their schools and traditional educational publishers. The Zinn Education Project and Rethinking Schools are among the many resources available to educators looking to provide their students with an inclusive social studies education.

After looking through the articles and resources mentioned above, consider the following:

  1. Paulo Freire said that teaching is a political act- clearly making choices about what to include and exclude in a curriculum is also a political act. Does thinking about education as political change the way you teach? How?
  2. Think back to what you learned in social studies in K-12- what stories were overemphasized? What stories were left out? How did this impact your view of the world?
  3. What happens to students when they are taught that teaching and education are apolitical and that what they are learning represents some sort of objective truth? Do you think students get this message often? What can you do to remind your students of the subjectivity of what they are being taught?

Thank you for subscribing to our weekly discussion, please help us spread the word-- forward it to your friends and colleagues or encourage them to subscribe here. Please visit the Center for Culturally Responsive Urban Education (CRUE) website at for more information and resources on educational equity.




Culturally Responsive Urban Education
1380 Lawrence Street, 6th Floor
Denver, CO 80204