The state of Texas will require schools to teach that “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Mideast.
The Texas Board of Education voted during a curriculum review last week to keep the controversial sentence in high school textbooks, used by approximately 5.4 million public-school children. The board is comprised of five Democratic members and 10 Republican members, implying that the decision was likely demonstrative of a shift towards a more right-wing educational program.
After a period of public input, this decision, among other ones by the board, will be subject to a final vote in November, according to The Independent.
“Last week was a perfect demonstration of why it’s a really bad idea for politicians to write curriculum standards that guide what public schools teach,” Dan Quinn, communications director of Texas Freedom Network, a religious liberty advocacy group, told The Guardian. “Because then you end up with history that’s decided by a majority vote instead of by facts and historical accuracy.”
However, Charles Jacobs, the president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which supported a lawsuit in Newton, Mass., last month over the town’s public schools using anti-Israel materials, told JNS that both the Israeli and Palestinian narrative should be taught, with the perspective that Texas is looking to institute as the truth.
“They should teach the truth and the truth is Arab rejection,” said Jacobs. “At the same time, they should explain to students what the Arab narrative is and how it’s wrong.”
The same board also voted to eliminate historical references to Helen Keller, Barry Goldwater and Hilary Clinton.