Flawed Social-Studies Standards Earn a “D” in National Study

A conservative-leaning think tank has come out with a scathing report on the quality of the new social-studies standards adopted amidst much controversy last year by the State Board of Education. (Texas AFT strongly opposed these social-studies standards.) The Thomas B. Fordham Institute this week denounced the new Texas curriculum guidelines as a “politicized distortion of history offering misrepresentations at every turn.” The Fordham report, a 50-state study of standards, gave the Texas guidelines a grade of “D” and said the SBOE majority is using the state curriculum “to promote its political priorities, molding the past to justify its current views and aims. The report adds:  “Biblical influences on America’s founding are exaggerated, if not invented. The complicated but undeniable history of separation between church and state is flatly dismissed.” The report’s author also says the state curriculum standards minimize the history of slavery and segregation and stress a “triumphal narrative in which everything in American history is wonderful.”

Fordham’s president, Chester Finn, said: “Texas’s standards are not up to the needs of the children of Texas and somebody ought to do something differently there.” The Fordham report has given new momentum to bipartisan efforts to get the State Board to reconsider the social-studies standards. Both SBOE member Thomas Ratliff, Republican of Mount Pleasant, and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus in the Texas House have called for reopening of the standard-setting process to cure the standards’ many defects.