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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
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Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
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Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 764839

Reported Deaths: 13048
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1089971721
Mobile698041173
Madison48181574
Baldwin35619445
Shelby35053289
Tuscaloosa32903508
Montgomery32475655
Lee21787203
Calhoun19941374
Morgan19234315
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Houston16028347
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Cullman13942234
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DeKalb11829226
Walker10171306
Autauga9439124
Blount9357149
Jackson9055136
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Colbert8287164
Dale8241151
Escambia6436103
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Covington6291154
Chilton6215129
Russell590154
Franklin561294
Chambers5211130
Dallas4610176
Marion4579114
Clarke449471
Pike448289
Geneva4223102
Winston404685
Lawrence4040101
Bibb394776
Barbour337067
Marengo319979
Monroe310346
Butler308483
Pickens298369
Randolph291655
Henry291455
Hale285281
Cherokee278249
Fayette270671
Washington242645
Crenshaw231664
Clay220761
Macon213254
Cleburne208746
Lamar186339
Conecuh176538
Lowndes168756
Coosa162531
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Perry134035
Sumter122935
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Choctaw72225
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