The Texas State Board of Education voted last week to remove former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, from the state’s history curriculum.
According to DallasNews.com, the move came as part of an effort to “streamline” educational materials for millions of students who attend public schools in the Lone Star state.
The vote came after considering recommendations from volunteer work groups who say the state requires students to learn about too many historical figures.
In addition to Clinton, other historical figures like Helen Keller didn’t make the cut.
Members of the volunteer work groups came up with a 20-point grading scale to determine which figures in history warrant being included. According to reports, Clinton scored a 5; Keller, a 7.
In removing Clinton from the mandatory curriculum, it was estimated teachers would save 30 minutes of instructional time.
Apparently, 30 minutes was too much time to spend on the first female presidential candidate of a major political party.
It’s worth noting that the state school board is made up of 15 members – 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats.
This is cause for concern on a couple of fronts.
First, clearly there will be no education on the contributions of LGBT pioneers like Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office), Edith Windsor (who sued the U.S. government for the right to have her marriage recognized) or Barbara Gittings (the mother of the LGBT civil rights movement).
So, LGBT kids in Texas won't learn of important contributions from people like them throughout history.
Second, due to the millions of students in Texas, the state orders millions of textbooks.
That makes the state incredibly influential on national publishers, and means the state school board is in a position to request hundreds of changes to textbooks to suit the state’s right-leaning requirements.
For instance, the New York Review of Books reports that in one instance, publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston was asked to make 400 revisions to a health textbook. Part of those changes included deleting toll-free numbers for gay and lesbian groups as well as teenage suicide prevention organizations.
See where this is going?
Once changes like these are made, schools across the country in other states may be buying them for their students without knowing how some of the decisions were made regarding what is or isn’t included.
And one more thing to consider: remember those “volunteer work groups” in Texas making the recommendations about curriculum?
The non-profit Texas Freedom Network took a look at just who made up those panels, chosen by the Texas Board of Education, in 2014.
It turned out that of the 140+ individuals appointed to the panels, only 3 were current faculty members at Texas universities or colleges.
The review showed that political activists and individuals without educational or teaching degrees were selected for the panels.
And those folks were deciding what did or did not go into the textbooks that would educate millions of children across the country.
So, yeah, what happens in Texas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Texas.
The final vote on curriculum recommendations takes place in November.