GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)--Despite news reports to the contrary, Texas students will be required to learn about Thomas Jefferson and constitutional religious freedom guarantees, say two prominent members of the Texas State Board of Education.
Additionally, "Nowhere in our social studies curriculum standards is America referred to as a Christian nation," said board chairman Gail Lowe, a Republican from Lampasas, Texas, contrary to claims in a March 22 letter to textbook publishers by the liberal Interfaith Alliance.
In interviews with the Southern Baptist TEXAN about new social studies standards for Texas public schools, Lowe and Don McLeroy, the immediate past board chairman, said widely circulated news reports contained numerous inaccuracies, including claims that Thomas Jefferson was left out of the standards, that First Amendment religious freedom guarantees were omitted because conservative board members reject the concept of church-state separation, and that religious dogma had crept into the standards.
The board meeting, held March 10-12 in Austin, made national and international news, chiefly because Texas buys or distributes about 48 million textbooks annually, influencing textbook content for most other states.
The Guardian newspaper of London claimed on its blog that the board was "rewriting history," an assertion of the Texas Freedom Network, which bills itself a "mainstream voice to counter the religious right." Read More