Alamo Lessons Should Cut 'Heroic' Description, Panel Advises

Thirty service members, representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force stand before The Alamo on March 6, 2010, commemorating the battle that took place there in February and March of 1836 for Texan independence from Mexico. (US Army photo/Esther Garcia)
Thirty service members, representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force stand before The Alamo on March 6, 2010, commemorating the battle that took place there in February and March of 1836 for Texan independence from Mexico. (US Army photo/Esther Garcia)

The social studies curriculum for seventh graders in Texas learning about the Alamo could reportedly face some new changes, at least one of which has drawn the ire of the governor.

Removing the word "heroic" to describe those who protected the Alamo was among the items included in a report penned by an advisory panel to the State Board of Education on how to structure the curriculum, Dallas News reported on Friday.

As it stands now, curriculum phrasing of the topic is the "siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there," according to the outlet.

However, the word in question was reportedly described as being "value-charged" and the panel has suggested doing away with everything except the "siege of the Alamo."

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott took a firm stance on the proposition, arguing that the "political correctness in our schools" needed to "stop."

"Stop political correctness in our schools. Of course Texas schoolchildren should be taught that Alamo defenders were 'Heroic'!" Abbott said in a tweet. "I fully expect the State Board of Education to agree. Contact your SBOE Member to complain."

State land commissioner George P. Bush took issue with another point of the proposition, which wanted to do away with a mandate for students to describe "the Travis Letter," penned by Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis in the midst of the fight, the Dallas News reported.

"This politically correct nonsense is why I'll always fight to honor the Alamo defenders' sacrifice," Bush tweeted. "His letter & the defenders' actions must remain at the very core of TX history teaching. This is not debatable to me."

The panel's suggestion stems from an idea that educators can instead include the letter as part of a broader lesson on the Alamo, the outlet reported.

State Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Bahorich on Friday tweeted that she was not in favor of "deleting one of the most iconic letters in US History for 7th grade." Her post was re-tweeted by the Texas State Board of Education.

Following criticisms about extensive curriculum requirements, the proposition was created as a means to re-organize it, Debbie Ratcliffe, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, told the Dallas News, adding that they tried to weigh considerations by whether something could "be reduced by either deleting information, combining standards or clarifying."

"That was the goal," Ratcliffe continued. "They suggested deleting the Travis letter because they think when teachers talk about the Alamo they will absolutely mention it, but not having it outlined specifically just meant teachers would spend less time on it."

According to a tweet from the Board of Education, public hearings on social studies standards are set to be held on Tuesday. A vote on the issue will occur in November, the Dallas News reported.

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