The Texas Board of Education voted on Friday to remove historical figures including Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the mandatory history curriculum in Texas schools, The Dallas Morning News reported. The preliminary vote is an attempt by the board to “streamline” what students learn in social studies classes, according to the publication.
Removing figures from the curriculum wouldn’t prevent teaching about them, but would mean doing so is not mandatory.
The vote on Friday was not final. Amendments can be made to the curriculum before a final vote is held in November.
Clinton was the first female presidential nominee of a major party. Keller was a deaf and blind woman who graduated from college and became an activist.
The Dallas Morning News reported that high school students have been “assigned to ‘evaluate the contributions of significant political and social leaders in the United States,’” including Clinton and others such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Andrew Carnegie.
The board also made decisions to keep some references in the curriculum which had been recommended for removal by a working group tasked with streamlining the curriculum, such as a description of the “heroism” of people who defended the Alamo, according to The Dallas Morning News. The board voted to keep references of “Judeo-Christian” values and their influence on American politics and history.
They also voted to reinsert the Biblical figure Moses as an influence on American politics, and remove philosopher Thomas Hobbes from the section on “individuals whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding.”
A conservative Christian advocacy group, Texas Values, praised the board’s decision in a statement to The Dallas Morning News.
“In Texas, you don’t mess with the Alamo and you don’t mess with our Christian heritage. We applaud the majority of the State Board of Education for doing the right thing by restoring our foundational rights and history,” said Jonathan Saenz, the president of the group.
The Texas Board of Education has previously invited controversy over its votes. In 2013, the approval of textbooks that did not include references to creationism as an alternative to evolution was delayed because of opposition from Christian conservatives.
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