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Texas school board 'reinstates' Jefferson

May 21, 2010 at 9:15 PM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, May 21 (UPI) -- Stung by criticism and ridicule, Texas educators voted to reinstate Thomas Jefferson to the state's study curriculum after earlier deleting him, observers said.

The deletion of Jefferson, the U.S. founding father who was the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence and the third president whose belief in the separation of church and state was anathema to conservative members of the Texas State Board of Education, had generated a firestorm of debate and criticism of the board, the Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

Conservative members of the board say they're correcting a liberal slant they believe influenced textbooks in recent decades, but critics say the changes are damaging and are a disservice to Texas students.

Voting on social studies curricula standards, the 15-member board split along party lines on numerous additional amendments to the educational standards, KVUE-TV, Austin, reported.

Texas students won't be taught the abbreviations used by non-Christians BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) can be used in place of B.C. and A.D. when referring to a year, KVUE reported.

Educators must teach why communist economies failed and capitalist economies succeeded after World War II, the board decided, and students must learn about "the benefits of the free enterprise system."

Board member Cynthia Dunbar opened Friday's meeting with a prayer describing America as "a Christian land governed by Christian principles."

Working on the curricula standards for months, the board has made nearly 200 changes in the last two days, KVUE said.

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