At least 65 Texas public schools are already using a biology textbook that favors the theory of creationism over the theory of evolution. The use of these textbooks has sparked a debate about whether children at schools that receive public funding should be taught religious ideals or not.
During an ongoing Texas State Board of Education review of publisher-submitted textbooks to be included in upcoming courses, a similar debate is occurring. The board is currently reviewing social studies textbooks, which influential conservative organization Freedom Outpost believes should include revisions to the way the Civil War is discussed, particularly with its connection to slavery.
A new Freedom Outpost article written by activist Bill Ames claims that slavery should not be written in the textbooks as a primary cause of the Civil War, as “sectionalism and states rights” were the actual causes.
Ames also calls for a more thorough discussion of militant black civil rights groups and the “burning and looting of a number of U.S. inner cities” in social studies textbooks, in order to “provide balance and diversity of opinion to the civil rights story." Ames also makes his arguments specific to his own political affiliation, pointing out that many Southern Democrats opposed civil rights, while the majority of Republicans supported civil rights legislation.
According to TFN Insider, many on the Texas State Board of Education fought back against Ames’ demands. Still, board members revised the draft document that prioritized the subjects schools will include a ways in which those subjects would be taught.
The unfortunate aspect of the situation is not just the inclusion of ideals from the far right or the far left into history textbooks, but that the Board of Education members need to be fighting at all. As Ames says in his article, “both sides in the culture war are once again gearing up for the fight” for how history should be taught. Outlooks such as the one possessed by Ames suggest that the education system is turning into an opportunity for influencers to push their political agendas on children instead of providing those students with balanced, unbiased knowledge.