People For The American Way have an analysis of the process by which Texas’s textbook standards became tools for rewriting history according to a contemporary right wing religious political viewpoint. Here are just a few glimpses of the changes, both those merely proposed and those actually accepted by the school board, which I had not heard much about prior:
One goal of the board’s far-right faction was the whitewashing of Joseph McCarthy, so they required the teaching of historical material that they believe (wrongly) shows he was vindicated. The board dropped labor and civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta; and took out Ted Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court. References to the slave trade were replaced with “triangular trade.” Right-wing advisors to the board wanted them to drop Thurgood Marshall, the historic civil rights lawyer and Supreme Court justice, but Marshall made the cut.The board also turned the teaching of religious liberty and the First Amendment on its head. It rejected an amendment about the importance of the founders’ decision to include the First Amendment to prevent the government from favoring one religion over another. Instead, board members included language to require textbooks to “compare and contrast”the language of the First Amendment with the concept of separation of church and state.
The board changed language regarding the study of civil rights movements, like women’s suffrage and the African American civil rights movement. Board members voted to focus not on the decades of strategic thinking and organizing that went into building support for democratic change but on the majority which ultimately bestowed those rights.