Texas School Official Explains Move on Helen Keller, Clinton

Dropping them from curriculum is not about politics, says chair of state education board
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2018 11:24 AM CDT
Texas School Official Explains Move on Helen Keller, Clinton
Auto magnate Henry Ford speaking to Helen Keller in this undated file photo. Keller, deaf and blind, uses touch to interpret his words.   (Photo: Business Wire)

The Texas State Board of Education has proposed teaching changes that would, among other things, remove Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the curriculum. But in an op-ed at the Washington Post, the chair of the state board pushes back against what she sees as "misguided criticism" of the changes. It's not about politics, it's about streamlining teachers' time, writes Donna Bahorich. On Clinton, for example, critics fail to point out that while she would be dropped from the high school curriculum, so would a conservative icon, Barry Goldwater. "It is difficult to see partisanship" at play there, writes Bahorich. And, yes, elementary students might not hear about Helen Keller, but they'd still learn about American Red Cross founder Clara Barton and civil rights figure Ruby Bridges.

Other critics have faulted the board for keeping the biblical figure Moses as part of the curriculum in US government classes. But this is the same Moses whose image is on the Supreme Court building, whose marble relief is located across from where the speaker of the House sits, and whose Ten Commandments are "acknowledged in an engraving in the floor of the National Archives," near the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, writes Bahorich. "While reasonable and knowledgeable people can disagree on 'essential knowledge,' what should also matter is a strong process where transparency reigns and an opportunity for public response is provided," she writes. The board can't be faulted on those counts, she argues, adding that all responses will be considered before the final vote in November. Read the full column. (Read more Texas stories.)

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