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Erased from history? (Starting with the Texas school curriculum)

October 23, 2018

This image is from the proposed changes to the Texas grade 2 social studies curriculum. 

 

In Grade 2 social studies, students learn about citizenship. As part of this unit of the curriculum, the current Texas education standards provide that students "identify historical figures such as Paul Revere, Abigail Adams, World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and Navajo Code Talkers, and Sojourner Truth who have exemplified good citizenship." (See TAC Chapter 113.13)

 

The Texas State Board of Education has proposed removing the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) from the Grade 2 list of historical figures who exemplify good citizenship (along with the Navajo Code Talkers.)

 

From what I understand, this does not prevent teachers from including the WASPs as a topic for instruction. However, by removing the WASPs from the suggested list of individuals who exemplify good citizenship as part of the required curriculum, it logically follows that fewer teachers would include the WASPs as part of the citizenship unit. 

 

If you are reading this, you are likely familiar enough with the history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots to know that these women have been fighting since World War II for the basic recognition not only as veterans, but as a part of history. (If you are not familiar with their history, read any of the news articles on this website for more information.) My grandmother Elaine Harmon told me that the United States Army told her not to speak about her service flying planes during World War II. The government documents relating to the WASP service were stored away for over 30 years. When I was growing up, my school books did not mention the WASP. This lack of representation in history books is something that concerned my grandmother until the day she died. This image above with a line through the WASPs indicating their removal from the school curriculum exemplifies the concerns she and the other women of the WASP have held for decades. 

 

What action can you take now? 

 

You can write to the Texas State Board of Education during the public comment period that is open now until the next meeting of the Texas State Board of Education from November 13 to 16, 2018. At this meeting, they will vote to approve the proposed changes in the curriculum. The link below opens the page where you can write public comments. When referencing this issue, refer to "TAC Chapter 113.13, Grade 2 Social Studies." Please feel free to copy and paste from this post if it helps you convey your thoughts. Thank you for taking time to make your concerns about this issue known. 

 

Click here to access the public comment page of the Texas Education Agency

 

To read the full text of the rules, click the link below. (Page 11 if you want to skip ahead.)

 

Text of Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 113, Subchapter A (pdf)

 

To contact the rulemaking unit directly:

 

Rulemaking Unit
Phone: (512) 475-1497
Email: rules@tea.texas.gov

 

 

 

 

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