Debate intensifies over Texas curriculum

Sept. 17, 2009 at 1:37 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The debate over the curriculum standards to be used by Texas public schools has intensified regarding religion's role in such efforts, an expert says.

Messiah College history professor John Fea said the State Board of Education discussion scheduled to start Thursday is focused on a controversial proposal to include more Christian teaching in social studies curriculum standards, The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported.

Fea said board-appointed reviewers are pushing for an approach based on the stance that the United States is a Christian nation.

"My best advice would be to respect the historians, respect the voice of historians," Fea suggested, "and try to keep politics out of the teaching of history."

Two of the experts tabbed to review the public school standards are David Barton and Peter Marshall, who each have conservative religious ties and support teaching of Christianity's role in U.S. history.

Education board member Mavis Knight told The Dallas Morning News the attempt to determine the standards that will influence textbooks and teaching lessons will likely be problematic.

"Some board members and some groups have indicated there will be a fight over many of these standards, and I believe there will be a fight, much as I would like to avoid it," the Dallas Democrat said.

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