History is usually written by the victors. Not so when it comes to social studies standards here in Texas, where Don McLeroy – a dentist from College Station and a defeated, outgoing member of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) – would rather have public school attendees talk about fictional characters from a coffee table book than historically significant Americans. As Phillip Martin wrote about earlier, Dr. McLeory recommended a change to curriculum (page 3) that prominent American history muckrackers and reformers like Upton Sinclair, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. DuBois be contrasted against “the optimism of immigrants including Jean Pierre Godet as told in Thomas Kinkade's The Spirit of America.” Dr. McLeroy did not mention that Jean Pierre Godet is a character in a work of fiction written in 1998. And that's only one point on a long list of mistruths the current SBOE wants to write into public school curriculum.
But there is still hope for the kids of Texas. Just like Texas science textbook purchase in Texas might be delayed, so might social studies textbooks. In fact, the textbooks will likely be purchased by the next SBOE elected this coming November, which means we have a chance to elect people who have education credentials and possibly save history in Texas. Here's what you can do to help…
- Donate directly to the campaigns. Support two candidates running for the SBOE by donating directly to their campaigns. Dr. Judy Jennings (running for SBOE District 10) and Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau (running for SBOE District 5) are running in districts that – if you put the two districts together – are geographically the size of Mississippi and total about 1.8 million registered voters. Judy and Rebecca are both committed to Saving History and you can donate to both candidates at their Save History ActBlue site.
- Help spread the word through Facebook, Twitter and your blog of choice. Those of us supporting Judy, Rebecca and others in Texas are using the #savehistory hashtag on twitter, as well as using that same tag on our posts.
- Be heard – join us in the Twitterbomb. Forget to submit your personal comment on the current standards up for review? We found a (non-official) way to submit a comment. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is on Twitter and we'd like to let them know how we feel about the proposed curriculum changes while they're voting on those changes. Please join us on Thursday, May 20th at 9am Central Standard by tweeting:
.@teainfo Do right by TX kids & public school kids everywhere. Reject distorted Social Studies curriculum changes. #SaveHistory
- Also let TEA know which historical figures and heros you'd like the SBOE to save by tweeting your favorite folks (for instance, Dolores Huerta) using the #savehistory hashtag all week.