WASHINGTON, DC – Interfaith Alliance, along with its coalition partners, sent a letter to Texas Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson endorsing legislation that she recently introduced, H. Res 1593, which declares Congressional support for academically based social studies curriculum standards for national textbooks. This is in response to recent curriculum shifts made by the Texas State Board of Education. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement:
I urge Congress to pass H. Res. 1593 and lend its weight to countering the Texas State Board of Education’s disturbing efforts to rewrite American history. The nation needs for Congress to send a loud and clear message that the history we teach our children should be based on facts, not on ideology.
For months, revisionists in Texas have fought to modify public school curriculum to downplay the darker parts of American history and to undermine the constitutionally mandated boundaries between institutions of religion and government. Such changes are outside the mainstream of historic scholarship and counterproductive to religion and democracy.
This matter is not simply a state or local one confined to Texas. These revisions pose a frightening potential to set into motion damaging and far-reaching, national initiatives. As a major consumer of textbooks, the curriculum in books needed for Texas public schools wields substantial influence on the books publishers create to be used in classes across the country. When a small group of politicians can revise a curriculum to obscure the history taught in classrooms around the country, nothing less than the education and future of all our nation’s children' are at stake.
Our children deserve the best, most accurate educational resources possible, resources that reflect carefully-researched history, not politically-motivated ideology. School children should not be duped by efforts to teach narrow-minded opinions as trusted historical facts. Only then can they receive the best education possible. Surely, most Americans agree that integral to quality education is instruction on the true meaning of the First Amendment and high praise for the religious freedom we hold dear – our first freedom that has contributed to our nation’s greatness.
Other signatories to the letter included: American Federation of Teachers, Americans for Religious Liberty, American Association of University Women, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Anti-Defamation League, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Catholics for Choice, Center for Inquiry, Hindu American Foundation, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, National Alliance of Black School Educators, NAACP, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Council of La Raza, National Council of Jewish Women, National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, People For the American Way, Secular Coalition for America, Texas Faith Network, Texas Freedom Network and the United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.