AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas public schools would describe slavery to second-graders as “involuntary relocation” under new social studies standards proposed to the state’s education board.
A group of nine educators submitted the idea to the State Board of Education as part of Texas’ effort to develop a new social studies curriculum, according to the Texas Tribune. The once-per-decade process updates what children are learning in the state’s nearly 8,900 public schools.
The board is considering curriculum changes a year after Texas passed a law to remove subjects from schools that students “feel uncomfortable.”
Board member Aicha Davis, a Democrat who represents Dallas and Fort Worth, expressed concern at a June 15 meeting that the term was not a fair representation of the slave trade. The board sent the draft back for review, urging educators to “carefully examine the language used to describe events.”
“I can’t say what their intention was, but that won’t be acceptable,” Davis told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.
Some of the proposed draft standards obtained by The Texas Tribune say students should “compare travel to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary displacement of African people during colonial times.”
Texas’ public education system has become highly politicized in recent years, with lawmakers passing legislation to dictate how race and slavery should be taught in schools and conservative groups pouring large amounts of money into school board races.
Texas drew attention to a similar situation in 2015, when a student noted wording in a textbook referring to slaves brought to America as “labourers.” The book publisher apologized and promised to increase the number of textbook reviewers.