Texas makes changes to history textbooks--panhandle to see changes

Texas makes changes to history textbooks--panhandle to see changes

Amarillo, TX -  This coming semester means new textbooks for Texas students, including those here in the panhandle.

It's happening in history class--in the new social studies textbooks that students will be using to learn U.S. History.

Five million public school students in Texas will see a change that was voted for in 2010, and will take effect when students go back this fall.

New state academic guidelines changed some of the African-American history content that students typically learn.

For example, the new textbooks will very lightly address racial segregation. And they will not make mention of the Ku Klux Klan or the Jim Crow laws put in place.
 However all schools must implement Texas Essential Knowledge and skills (or TEKS) standards.

"We know as in all subjects that the textbooks don't cover 100% of the TECs," says Highland Park Superintendent Buddy Freeman. "And so slavery, if that's part of the TECs, then we're going to teach that...whether it's in the textbooks or not. We know that's a part of our history and we need to teach what's in our history."

"We still have to look closely at the things we need to include that may not be in the textbook because as I said...a text book is not the only resource, it's not the gospel," says Principal Shawn Read. "We can find other sources of information."

In regards to what got the Civil War going, Texas' new standards teach students the war was about a debate regarding state's rights.

Slavery will reportedly be alternate reasoning on the list of explanations used to teach why some states withdrew from the Union.
While controversial, officials here say they will teach students these details...just in other forms.

 "In all subjects our teachers utilize outside resources, you know and with the internet all of these resources are readily available and there's so much information out there. If we depended only on textbooks for all of our courses, our students wouldn't do very well on our state mandated testing," says Freeman.

We want our teachers to find other sources for to provide information as a technology-rich school," says Read. "What we want to do is students have access to the internet and all those resources...we want them to be able to look for things in any subject, not just social studies."

Critics of Texas' new history standards fear that their teaching about the Civil War will spread to other statewide textbooks, as these changes are currently specific to this state.