Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state's guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws. And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by "sectionalism, states' rights and slavery" -- written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery's secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.
Students in Texas are required to read the speech Jefferson Davis gave when he was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America, an address that does not mention slavery. But students are not required to read a famous speech by Alexander Stephens, Davis's vice president, in which he explained that the South's desire to preserve slavery was the cornerstone of its new government and "the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution." [...] Texas's social studies standards are more politicized than any other state, said Jeremy A. Stern, a historian who reviewed state standards for the conservative-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute in 2011. He gave Texas's standards a D and wrote that the board was "molding the telling of the past to justify its current views."