Texas educators' group suggests slavery be taught as 'involuntary relocation' to 2nd graders

·2 min read
An empty classroom.
The Texas State Board of Education has unanimously directed the work group to "revisit" the phrase "involuntary relocation" as presented in its proposal.Stella via Getty Images
  • An educators' group in Texas proposed that 2nd-gradede students be taught about slavery.

  • The state's education board took issue with them describing slavery as "involuntary relocation."

  • The suggestion was raised as the board reviews public schools' social studies classes.

A group of nine educators in Texas wants the state's public schools to start teaching slavery in the US as "involuntary relocation" to 2nd graders in social studies class, according to the Texas Tribune.

A draft of the proposal obtained by the Tribune says that students should "compare journeys to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary relocation of African people during colonial times."

The suggestion was submitted as part of the Texas State Board of Education's effort to consider updates to its social studies curriculum, per the Tribune. The curriculum review comes after the state passed a law last year ordering schools to avoid topics that could make students "feel discomfort," per the Tribune.

Keven Ellis, the board's chair, told the Tribune that the work group's suggestion had asked to introduce the topic of slavery to the 2nd-grade curriculum, which currently doesn't address slavery.

However, the board found the phrase "involuntary relocation" problematic after one of its members, Aisha Davis, raised concerns that the wording is not a "fair representation" of the slave trade, the Tribune reported.

Ellis told the Tribune in a statement that the board unanimously directed the work group to "revisit" that term.

It's not the first time a controversial term downplaying slavery has appeared in view of Texas schools' curriculum. In 2015, a textbook publisher in Texas came under fire over one of its geography textbooks, which referred to slaves in America as "workers."

The social studies curriculum has, in recent years, been a subject of intense political debate in Texas, particularly the issue of critical race theory (CRT). CRT is based on the idea that racism permeates society and legal systems but has become a catch-all term used by right-wing groups to describe anything about race or slavery taught in public schools.

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