The proposed social studies curriculum in Texas is all about Texas, all the time, complains Gary Nash, a UCLA professor and director of the National Center for History in Schools. From the El Paso Times:
Texas students “are going to know a great deal about their own state and it is a fine state, but they are going to know very little about the world and they are going to leave high school with a very myopic view of the history of humankind,” Nash said in an interview.
The state offers two years of Texas history, one year of world history and a yearlong look at contemporary world culture. In contrast, California teaches three years of world history and one year of state history.
The Board of Education’s new curriculum includes a list of historic figures that may be taught and those who must be taught. There’s no mention of Nicolaus Copernicus, Marie Curie and Pythagoras of Samos, Nash complains. Simon Bolivar, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton also have been dropped. But teachers must teach students about their Texas state legislators.
Other critics say the curriculum doesn’t put enough stress on Hispanics, women, Native Americans and African-Americans. Of 160 people mentioned in the current draft, only 14 are Hispanic — and some of those are Spanish settlers.
State Rep. Norma Chávez, D-El Paso, told the board that Irma Rangel, the first Latina elected to the Texas Legislature, and Henry B. Gonzalez, the first Latino from Texas elected to Congress, should be moved from the may-be-taught to the must-be-taught list.
The board will hold public hearings in January.