American Historical Association Calls on the Texas State Board of Education to Reconsider Amendments to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies

The following press release and statement were sent to the Texas State Board of Education from the American Historical Association today.

The elected council and officers of the American Historical Association fully concur with the commitment expressed by many members of the Texas State Board of Education that historical understanding is an essential element in educating young people in their developing role as citizens of their state, the nation, and the world. The Council, however, calls on the Texas State Board of Education to reconsider their recently proposed amendments to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies. We attach, therefore, a statement prepared by key elected officials of our organization who have studied the documents relevant to the State Board of Education’s upcoming decision. This statement proposes a constructive way forward for reconsidering the amendments with the goal of enhancing the historical education of Texas school children. We strongly endorse the statement’s urgent call for a delay in the decision on the current proposed amendments. The American Historical Association, chartered by the Congress of the United States in 1889 includes almost 15,000 individual members as well as 113 affiliated organizations committed to the study of history.

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  1. Kelly Woestman

    What would be really helpful is if our colleagues at our flagship institutions in each state would get involved in state standards when they are being formulated. Too often the territory has been ceded to non-historians and we have to be a part of the process from the beginning if we want to have any real impact. Those of us at non-flagship institutions have been fighting these battles for decades but do not have the political clout with the state leaders that count that our colleagues at larger institutions possess. We would certainly appreciate your assistance!

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  2. Richard Pierard

    Many thanks for your irenic but firm statement on the Texas school board action. Since the board has chosen to ignore our wise advice, we should publicize our deep concern and dissatisfaction as widely as possible, especially in the state of Texas. As a 50 year member of the AHA I propose that we demand of the textbook publishers that they not accept the Texas guidelines or incorporate them in the new editions of their books. I further propose that the council inform all the textbook publishers that including these distortions and falsefications of history is unacceptable to our society and that we will regard the ones that do so as persona non grata. This would include excluding them from displaying their wares at our convention and advertising in our publications and urging our members not to adopt for course use any of their books and not to submit manuscripts to them for publication. We have to bring pressure to bear in every way possible to stop this erosion of quality in our discipline. The Texas situation should be placed on the agenda for discussion and action at our annual meeting in Boston. Thank you for your good work on behalf of our society.

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  3. Mike Green

    Shameless plug:

    I have posted a link to an article I wrote before the Texas State Board of Education voted to amend their “standards”. I am proposing a boycott of any publisher who would publish according to these “standards.”

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