In reversal, Texas board votes to teach students about Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller are back on the lesson plan after a vote by the Texas State Board of Educat...

Posted: Nov 14, 2018 11:03 AM
Updated: Nov 14, 2018 11:03 AM

Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller are back on the lesson plan after a vote by the Texas State Board of Education.

The committee voted 12-2, with one abstention, on Tuesday to continue teaching students about Clinton in high school history classes, according to State Board of Education Director Debbie Ratcliffe. The board also voted to keep Keller on the curriculum.

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The vote reverses a September preliminary decision to cut the women, along with 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater and several other historical figures, from the required curriculum. The board said then that the change was intended to streamline the curriculum for its 5.4 million students at the recommendation of volunteer work groups.

The thinking was that less content would allow teachers to take deeper dives into certain topics, rather than emphasizing such things as the memorization of dates, Donna Bahorich, chairperson of the Texas State Board of Education said in a statement in September.

"Texas simply has too many learning standards, required to be taught and assessed on state assessments, for educators to cover in a year," she said.

Bahorich said that the board realizes people disagree on who is essential to include in the required curriculum.

The working groups looked at historical figures and scored them on a point system, with factors including diverse perspectives, whether they were part of a watershed moment and the impact on or for underrepresented groups.

Clinton scored a five; Keller, an advocate for the deaf and blind, a seven; and Goldwater received no points.

Evangelist Billy Graham scored a 4 on the scale, and an earlier working group recommended he be removed from the curriculum. But he was back in the final recommendation.

The proposed cuts garnered some criticism.

"If Helen Keller was an important historical figure when I was in school (and she was), then she still is today," Texas state Rep. Chris Turner tweeted Friday. "@HillaryClinton is the 1st and only woman to be the presidential nominee of a major party in U.S. history. Enough said."

What is perhaps the most famous landmark in Texas also came up for discussion. In September, the school board rejected an advisory board's recommendation that the word "heroic" not be used to describe the defenders of the Alamo against the Mexican army in 1836. The board did give final approval on a new Mexican-American studies course.

The school board will vote again on Friday to finalize the new curriculum.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
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Lee10063176
Jones8473167
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Clay187954
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Calhoun174232
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Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
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Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
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Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
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Houston10791287
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Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
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Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
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Perry108626
Sumter105832
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