Students in Texas will learn that slavery played a “central role” in the American Civil War in what will be a refocusing of the conflict.
The Texas Board of Education voted Friday, and beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, teenagers will be taught the new curriculum.
Previously, the state’s social studies standards claimed there were three causes for the Civil War in order of importance: sectionalism, states’ rights and finally slavery, npr reports.
However Democratic board member Marisa Perez-Diaz pointed out that the main issue that caused the civil war, slavery, wasn’t being given enough focus.
She said: “What the use of ‘states’ rights’ is doing is essentially blanketing, or skirting, the real foundational issue, which is slavery.”
Many universities’ curriculum teaches that slave-owning states like Alabama and the Carolinas went to war with the North over the right to own slaves, given that much of their industry relied on slave labour.
Republican board member David Bradley argued against this.
“Each state had differences and made individual decisions as to whether or not to join into the conflict, correct?” he said.
“I mean, that’s the definition of states’ rights,” he added.
The board member decided on a compromise, which is that students will be taught:
The central role of the expansion of slavery in causing sectionalism, disagreements over states' rights and the Civil War.
The board’s only African-American member, Democrat Lawrence Allen Jr, helped create the new wording:
I don't think we really have that as a consensus in our state. And so if we can't drive it to a consensus in our state, we need to let our students look at it from all points of view.
Additionally, the board has restored Hillary Clinton and Hellen Keller to the state’s history curriculum.