Texas State Board of Education discusses changes to the state’s social studies curriculum

The Texas State Board of Education began discussing proposed changes to the state’s social studies curriculum in a meeting on August 1, 2022. The board aims to make changes and guide educators on how to teach U.S. history while aligning the curriculum with Senate Bill 3. The law, which went into effect in December 2021, prohibited teaching concepts such as promoting ideas that, according to the bill, “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex” and that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

The state board is responsible for updating the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards every eight years. The board aims to revise the social studies curriculum to ease educators’ concerns about how to teach the subject while adhering to the new law. 

Sen. Bryan Hughes (R), who authored Senate Bill 3, spoke to the board to offer guidance on implementing the law into the curriculum. Hughes told the board that the “bill is not an attempt to sanitize or to teach our history in any other way than the truth – the good, the bad and the ugly – and those difficult things that we’ve been through and those things we’ve overcome.” He added that, “No one is saying that we don’t have systemic racism. But what we’re saying is, we’ve made a lot of progress. We have a long way to go. But the way to get there is to come together as Americans,” according to The Texas Tribune.

State Board of Education member Aicha Davis (D) argued that Senate Bill 3 has been damaging to the public school system and stated, “We always talk about teachers leaving in droves and this was one of the reasons.” She responded to Hughes’ guidance on aligning curriculum with the law by saying, “Teachers were literally scared to teach even the TEKS that existed because of this,” according to The Texas Tribune

The proposed curriculum updates are available for review on the Texas Education Agency’s website and are open for public comment. The Texas State Board of Education will vote on proposed changes to the curriculum in November. 

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