Magazine article The Christian Century

Conservatives Win Vote on School Curriculum

Magazine article The Christian Century

Conservatives Win Vote on School Curriculum

Article excerpt

In a battle over the content of public school textbooks that is widely thought to have national implications, religious conservatives on the Texas Board of Education succeeded in adopting curriculum guidelines that reflect their views on U.S. history and economics.

Board members, who are elected to their posts, also rejected a motion by a Democrat member that would have required students to study why the Founding Fathers "protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others." On that vote, seven social conservatives on the board were joined by three moderate Republicans in voting down the Democrats-three Latinos and two blacks.

The March 12 final vote on a package of amendments to the guidelines was 11 to 4. Board members will return to the state capital in May for a final vote, but few changes are expected.

Incumbent board member Don McLeroy, a creationist and outspoken critic of the separation of church and state, lost his seat March 2 in a Republican primary to Thomas Ratcliff, a legislative consultant. Ratcliff, considered a moderate, had criticized on his Web site the practice of some board members who, he said, "search far and wide to find 'experts' that also support their political agendas." In his campaign, McLeroy warned: "Our nation is falling under the sway of the ideas of the far left."

In another change adopted by the board, the word "capitalism" was replaced throughout the guidelines with the term "free-enterprise system" because, one member said, the former word has a negative connotation. …

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