A Perfect Storm in Austin and Beyond: Making the Case—and Place—for U.S. History in Texas and the Nation

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Contribution to Book

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"From Lone Star State to Laughing Stock State" lamented former Texas Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby in March 2010 as Texas lurched toward producing its new social studies standards. Expressing frustration and embarrassment at the ostensible trumping of history by ideology, this scion of a bipartisan Houston political dynasty reflected, and perhaps attempted to deflect, the negative reactions of so many inside and outside the state. Comedians and other critics had a field day, to be sure, but what transpired during the meetings of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) was no laughing matter. At the end of the day, with legitimate historians and experienced teachers effectively cut out of the process, the will of the social conservative majority triumphed. Although the history that Texas schoolchildren are now mandated to learn and be tested on does follow a conventional narrative in some respects, it also displays an odd blend of head-scratching particulars, misleading revisionism, and outright invention, wrapped neatly in the flags of American and Lone Star exceptionalism. Moreover, the 2010 standards overemphasize content—easily politicized—while paying scant attention to the skills associated with learning how to think historically. In the end, the prescribed history reveals far more about the present than the past, much more about contemporary cultural politics than the nature and value of historical understanding.


Keith A. Erekson


Palgrave Macmillan


New York



Publication Information

Politics and the History Curriculum: The Struggle over Standards in Texas and the Nation

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