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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bonnen calls on State Board of Education to keep Judeo-Christian faith in Social Studies curriculum

Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 34

This week, the elected members of the State Board of Education (SBOE) are holding public hearings on proposed revisions to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Social Studies.  These proposed revisions will define history, government, and social studies education for a generation of Texans.  Their decisions will also have an effect on students nationwide, as textbook companies tend to apply Texas standards to textbooks distributed throughout the United States.

As I have monitored the debate surrounding what will ultimately be taught in classrooms across this state, I have become increasingly concerned with pressures throughout the  revision process to wash the TEKS clean of any references to Judeo-Christian faiths while promoting references to other religions.  For instance, a previous draft of the TEKS removed Christmas and Rosh Hashanah from a list of holidays and added Diwali, a five-day Hindu festival.  Though Christmas and Rosh Hashanah have since been added to the most recent draft, this is indicative of the strong attempts to trivialize and censor the historical importance of Judeo-Christian faiths.

In response, I have joined the Texas Conservative Coalition in submitting a letter to the SBOE, which will be included in the recorded public testimony, calling on its members to ensure that our schoolchildren have a full and accurate understanding of the history that created present-day Texas and the United States.  Our letter urges that the TEKS continue to reflect the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our nation and society.  We also express our concerns with the removal of prominent historical figures, such as Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, from the TEKS draft revision and ask that the Board take steps not to undermine America's greatness and to make certain that references to these figures are reinstated.

While the SBOE has voted to reject many of the harmful proposals aimed at re-writing our state and nation's history, I will continue my efforts to defend the tremendous influence of Judeo-Christian values on our government and American society so that students can fully understand the philosophy behind our nation's rich history.