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The Latest: Texas votes to restore lesson on Helen Keller

November 13, 2018

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on Texas’ Board of Education voting on history curriculums (all times local):

4 p.m.

Amid public criticism, the Texas Board of Education has voted to restore third grade lessons on Helen Keller that it had proposed cutting.

The board’s 10 Republicans and five Democrats approved in September a plan to eliminate teaching about the iconic advocate for the deaf and blind as they worked to streamline Texas academic standards for history.

Tuesday’s reversal came after the board heard hours of testimony, much of it critical about the proposed changes. That included a 17-year-old visually- and hearing-impaired student who urged them to reconsider, calling Keller a “hero.”

A final board vote is set for Friday.

The board is still mulling other changes, including its past votes to cut lessons on Hillary Clinton and to preserve language about states’ rights issues helping to cause the Civil War.

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3:25 p.m.

The Texas Board of Education is discussing changes to the history curriculum that could scrap lessons featuring Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller and Barry Goldwater, but keep instruction about how Moses influenced the nation’s Founding Fathers and the ways states’ rights helped cause the Civil War.

The Republican-controlled board heard Tuesday from students, teachers, activists and academic experts who are defending, or decrying, proposed edits meant to streamline academic standards for history.

A vote is scheduled for later Tuesday, with final approval coming Friday.

Texas has around 5.4 million students, more than any state but California.

Though teaching board-approved lessons isn’t always mandatory, board-sanctioned curriculum can affect what’s published in textbooks. Texas is a large enough market that the state’s academic standards sometimes influence what’s published in materials used elsewhere.

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