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Hotly Debated Texas Standards Are (Finally) Online

For those who have kept an eye on the social studies debate in Texas, the moment has arrived: You can now read for yourself the final standards document as adopted in May by the state board of education.

As you may recall, the standards were the subject of an intense, politically charged, debate that generated national attention. Critics said the board, led by a bloc of social conservatives, used the standards rewrite to skew history and promote a right-wing agenda. For their part, the board's conservatives and their allies said one goal in revising the social studies standards was to balance a perceived liberal bias in the presentation of history.

The state board gave final approval to the standards on May 21 in a series of party-line votes of 9-5, with the exception of a unanimous 14-0 tally for economics. (One of the 10 Republicans was absent.) The action came after the board, during three rounds of meetings this year, considered hundreds of amendments.

Here's my story on the final package. In it, I note that some critics aren't ready to let the matter rest and are exploring ways to revisit the standards come January, when the board will have some new members.

I recall speaking with board member Don McLeroy just days after the standards won final approval. A conservative who recently lost his bid for re-election in the Texas primaries, he contended that much of the criticism aimed at the standards was unfair and seemed to come from people who hadn't sat down and read them.

"The number one thing is, ... they need to read the standards, read the standards, PLEASE read the standards," he implored.

Well, now's your chance.

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