EducationIssuesStatewide NewsState Board of Education Votes to Amend Social Studies Curricula to Comply With ‘Critical Race Theory’ Ban

The SBOE elected to move forward with small revisions to the social studies TEKS almost a month after they decided to scrap widespread changes to curricula.
September 27, 2022
Following a failed attempt to totally replace the K-12 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for social studies, the State Board of Education (SBOE) voted to meet again to only revise the curriculum.

They determined that the mountain of criticism to many of the proposed changes to the TEKS proved too great to adopt wholly new standards for Texas students. 

Opposition centered around the lack of emphasis on “American exceptionalism” and the absence of standalone Texas history courses. Testifiers and SBOE members also decried the heavy focus on world history compared to American history. 

Additionally, there were allegations of critical race theory (CRT) in the proposed TEKS. Some courses discussed “systematic racism,” a core concept of CRT.

Senate Bill (SB) 3 was passed last year aiming to eliminate the influence of CRT in Texas public schools, but does not mention it specifically.

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The SBOE voted at the end of the late August meeting to spend “the next two years, until 2025, investigating to inform the framework [of the TEKS].” By law, the standards are not up for revision law until 2025. 

The board met Monday, September 26 to clarify and tweak the TEKS to meet the requirements outlined in SB 3. 

The revisions include some minor changes to model the new law. One aspect of SB 3 is to make sure students “analyze and determine the reliability of information sources.” 

To follow this requirement, one revised student expectation reads, “[students will] evaluate a variety of historical and contemporary sources for validity, credibility, bias, and accuracy.”

Another reads, “[students will] analyze and evaluate a variety of economic information from primary and secondary sources for validity, credibility, accuracy, bias, propaganda, point of view, and frame of reference.” 

These new revisions point to an emphasis on media literacy studies.

Another revision prompted by SB 3 was the inclusion of civics engagement to inform students of the “democratic processes” of American society. 

A new student expectation under this requirement reads, “[students will] explain governmental and democratic processes such as voting, due process, and caucuses using simulations and models.”

Another reads “[students will] apply foundational language skills to engage in civil discourse about economics topics, including those with multiple perspectives.”

The revisions also add a TEK covering the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which Texas students are now required to learn according to SB 3.

Outside of those changes, the TEKS are mostly the same. 

At the meeting, Democratic members of the SBOE proposed a flurry of amendments to the revisions, all of which failed. 

Boardmember Georgina Perez attempted to amend the revisions to include discussion of Jose Tomas Canales, a prominent 20th-century Mexican-American state politician. 

Canales led an investigation into the Texas Rangers, whom he accused of misconduct in the early 20th century.

The motion received little support from the board, with SBOE Chairman Keven Ellis telling Perez that the point of the meeting was to approve the prescriptions outlined by SB 3. 

Perez responded, “This is fact, it’s not politically based.” 

Ellis then quipped, “The bill doesn’t say we have to teach all of the facts.” 

“However, what is there is incomplete. Would that be a factual inaccuracy? There is a gaping hole [in the TEKS],” Perez asserted. 

Boardmember Aicha Davis spoke up in support of the amendment, saying, “My colleague is arguing that this TEKS refers to Senate Bill 3 compliance. We can’t just say we don’t want to include [Canales] because we cannot use non-inclusion as a reason [in SB 3].”

The non-inclusion aspect of SB3 is listed in section nine of the bill, but only ensures that the specific events, documents, and figures listed in the law explicitly are not excluded from the TEKS during SBOE revisions. 

Perez also attempted to add TEKS that cover climate change to high school social studies, which also received minimal support from the board. 

Following two hours of discussion, the board voted to move revisions to a first reading, a key step in the adoption process. The motion passed along party lines, 8 to 5.


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Hudson Callender

Hudson Callender is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of San Antonio, Texas. Hudson recently graduated cum laude from Trinity University with majors in Economics and Political Science, and loves to study ancient history. Hudson is also an avid mountaineer, backpacker, and paddler, often leading trips to remote wilderness areas. Outside of his love for nature, history, and Lone Star beer, Hudson spends his weekends arguing with his friends about football, and will always stick up for the Baylor Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Antonio Spurs.