Changes to Social Studies Standards Topic of Forum

Educators and education advocates will convene at the University of Houston for a public forum on proposed revisions to state standards for social studies curriculum.  The event will take place from 4 - 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24 in the Rockwell Pavilion of M.D. Anderson Library.  The event is free and is co-sponsored by the Center for Public History, Honors College and the Houston Teachers Institute. 

The Texas Board of Education will vote this year on new curriculum requirements for U.S. history, government and other social studies classes in school districts.  The board appointed a six-person group to submit a proposal.  The result has produced contentious discussions as some support inclusion of more elements of religion and free society, while others encourage inclusion of minority figures in history.   

"Generally, the proposal calls for more discussion of patriotism and how to function in a free society," said Michael Oberg, UH assistant professor of history.  "What ought to be taught to children is controversial, and that's healthy, but this has become very politicized."  

Oberg will moderate a panel discussion focusing on the process used to change standards, why politics enters the equation and why people should care.   

The panelists will include:

  • Lawrence Allen, State Board of Education, District Four
  • Angela Miller, director, social studies curriculum for the Houston Independent School District
  • Kathy Miller, president, Texas Freedom Network
  • Debbie Pennington, coordinator, social studies curriculum for the Conroe Independent School District
  • Sharon Pope, past president of the Texas Council for Social Studies and the Texas Social Students Supervisors Association

Following the panel's discussion, audience members may ask questions. 

"The proposed standards present American history largely whitewashed, devoid of any controversies or complexities," Oberg said.  "One emphasis is on patriotism, but patriotism uninformed by an awareness of the past leads to intolerance."  

For more information on the UH department of history, visit

For more information on the Houston Teachers Institute, visit

For more information on the UH Honors College, visit    

WHAT: Public Forum on Proposed State Standards for Social Studies

WHEN:  4 - 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24

WHERE: Honors College Commons, 2nd floor M.D. Anderson Library,

For directions and parking information, visit