Texas votes to restore lesson on Helen Keller
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – (all times local):
The Texas Board of Education has voted to restore Hillary Clinton to history curriculum standards – a surprising reversal that came after Republican members said they had heard from members of the public angry she’d been edited out.
The preliminary vote Tuesday night overturns the board’s vote in September to cut the former senator, secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate from new, streamlined academic standards taught to the state’s roughly 5.4 million students.
A final vote is set for Friday and the board can make changes until then.
Outnumbered Democrats proposed restoring Clinton and many of their Republican colleagues agreed, some after noting that they had heard from Texans surprised and angered that she’d been removed.
Amid public criticism, the Texas Board of Education has voted to restore third grade lessons on Helen Keller that it had proposed cutting.
The board’s 10 Republicans and five Democrats approved in September a plan to eliminate teaching about the iconic advocate for the deaf and blind as they worked to streamline Texas academic standards for history.
Tuesday’s reversal came after the board heard hours of testimony, much of it critical about the proposed changes. That included a 17-year-old visually- and hearing-impaired student who urged them to reconsider, calling Keller a “hero.”
A final board vote is set for Friday.
The board is still mulling other changes, including its past votes to cut lessons on Hillary Clinton and to preserve language about states’ rights issues helping to cause the Civil War.
The Texas Board of Education is discussing changes to the history curriculum that could scrap lessons featuring Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller and Barry Goldwater, but keep instruction about how Moses influenced the nation’s Founding Fathers and the ways states’ rights helped cause the Civil War.
The Republican-controlled board heard Tuesday from students, teachers, activists and academic experts who are defending, or decrying, proposed edits meant to streamline academic standards for history.
A vote is scheduled for later Tuesday, with final approval coming Friday.
Texas has around 5.4 million students, more than any state but California.
Though teaching board-approved lessons isn’t always mandatory, board-sanctioned curriculum can affect what’s published in textbooks. Texas is a large enough market that the state’s academic standards sometimes influence what’s published in materials used elsewhere.