State school board members are close to taking an important step toward setting new standards for History and Social Studies classes.
The board, on Friday, is scheduled to wrap up its 3 day hearing. As part of the final day of work, a preliminary vote on the standards will be taken. Thursday, more than 100 amendments were submitted for review and debate. As the discussions got underway, at times, tempers flared. There was a sharp exchange between two board members. It involved an amendment to insert the word Capitalism into the standards.
"I see no need, frankly, to compromise with liberal professors from academia. That's part of the problem of how we end up with distorted and liberal biased textbooks, because its thats who's writing them," said Terri Leo, of Spring,
Patricia Hardy of Fort Worth, responded by saying her suggestion came from a friend, who she said is not only a professor at Texas A&M but is also a conservative Republican.
"I dont really understand why we are resistant on this, maybe some of us need to go back to school, but Capitalism and Free Enterprise is one and the same," said Hardy.
Hardys motion was eventually rejected by the Board. The skirmish is just one of several that took place Thursday. Many of the confrontations were sparked by the more than 100 amendments suggested for the proposed History and Social Studies standards. Chair person Gail Lowe tried to keep the meeting from becoming a playground brawl.
"Members, if we could refrain from attacking motives of other members or other participants in this process it would help," said Lowe.
Kathy Miller, with the Texas Freedom Network, blames conservative minded board members.
"What you are witnessing is a years worth of volunteer work by classroom teachers and experts from our colleges and universities suffering a death by a thousand cuts," said Miller.
Jonathan Saenz, with the Liberty Institute, believes those with liberal views are at fault.
If you look at some of the things that these teacher groups did, the writing teams, outrageous examples of taking Neil Armstrong out, taking Christmas out, no wonder they've got to spend so much time her, there are so many mistakes that they've got to correct, said Saenz.
With the way future textbooks could be written at stake, there were several notable casualties of this semantically battle. Among the amendments voted down was language acknowledging the separation of church and state. Voted in, was the name of a former Soviet dissident as well as a southwest Native American tribe.
After the preliminary vote on Friday, the board will come back in May for more debate and a final vote.