The Texas Board of Education received a proposal to call slavery an “involuntary relocation”

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A group of educators in Texas proposed labeling slavery an “involuntary displacement” in second-grade classrooms – before being pushed back by the State Board of Education.

The nine educators were one of several groups tasked with advising the Texas board on changes to the social studies curriculum, which would affect the state’s nearly 9,000 public schools.

Minutes from a June 15 meeting in Austin, which lasted more than 1 p.m., said committee members got an update on the social studies review before giving their opinion.

“The committee provided the following advice to the working group that completed the recommendations for K-8: … For K-2, carefully consider the language used to describe events, especially the term “move involuntary”. ”

Aicha Davis, a Democratic board member representing Dallas and Fort Worth, raised the wording during the meeting, which was first reported by the Texas Tribune.

She told The Washington Post on Friday that while looking through a large package of recommendations, she saw the proposed wording the group wanted to suggest, and “I immediately questioned it.”

“I will not support anything that paints the slave trade as ‘involuntary resettlement,'” she said. “I will not support anything that diminishes this trip.”

Part of the proposed draft standards for the program asked students to “compare travel to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary resettlement of Africans during the colonial era,” the Texas Tribune reported and Davis confirmed. at Post.

She said such comparisons were “absolutely” not fair. “The journey of the Irish people is totally different from the journey of Africans,” she said, adding that any comparison “will distort a lot of things in a young child’s mind.”

State Board of Education Chairman Keven Ellis told the Washington Post in a statement that the board “voted unanimously to return the language for rework.” Adding, “this advice is committed to truth, which includes accurate descriptions of historical events.” He said there was no attempt to “hide the truth from Texas sophomores about slavery.”

The task force behind the recommendation included teachers, social studies specialists, instructional coaches and a college professor, according to a list on the education agency’s website.

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In a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday, the Texas Education Agency responded to the backlash the proposal had created.

“As documented in the meeting minutes, the SBOE provided feedback during the meeting indicating that the working group needed to change language related to ‘involuntary resettlement,'” he said.

“Any claim that the SBOE intends to downplay the role of slavery in American history is totally inaccurate.”

The State Board of Education imposes policies and standards for Texas public schools, establishing curriculum rules, reviewing and adopting instructional materials, and overseeing certain funding. He will have a final vote on the program at the end of the year, according to board member Davis, who said he has a responsibility to embrace truthful information to prepare students for their future.

Next year, the council will also select textbooks that match the standards it eventually adopts, she added. “We have work to do.”

The incident sparked anger on social media. Art Acevedo, former Austin and Houston police chief called he “whitewashed the story” and said that “slavery deniers are just as dangerous as Holocaust deniers”.

An user wrote“Involuntary relocation is what happens when you lose your home in a hurricane. Not what happened during slavery.

The Texas education system has been the subject of much recent controversy amid a culture war over how historical and current events should be taught.

Recent policies have led to the banning of books on sexual orientation, as well as those that “contain material likely to cause students to feel unease, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress”. .

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Last year, Republican Governor Greg Abbott sign a bill to ban public K-12 schools from teaching “critical race theory” — an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic, not just about individual prejudice, that conservatives have used as a label for any discussion of race in schools.

More recently, a North Texas school district was forced to apologize after an administrator advised teachers that if they had Holocaust books in their classrooms, they should also include readings that have “opposing” perspectives.

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