What Texas students learn in social studies class could change drastically. Here’s how

The State Board of Education is in the middle of the first major rewrite of social studies curriculum in more than a decade.

Texas is undergoing its first major rewrite of social studies curriculum in more than a decade and the proposed changes could majorly reshape how students learn history.

The last time the state reworked its standards was in 2010, although educators say the framework has remained largely unchanged since the early 2000s.

What is the biggest proposed change?

Work groups reporting to the State Board of Education have proposed changing the grade levels at which students learn Texas and world history. Currently, fourth and seventh graders devote a full year to learning about state history while kindergarten through second graders learn broader concepts related to community.

In the new drafts up for consideration, history is taught throughout elementary and middle school in a more chronological fashion. Students in kindergarten through second grade will build foundational knowledge in Texas, U.S. and world history while maintaining a focus on culture and migration, at the direction of the State Board of Education.

Students in third through fifth grade will devote their time to world history, beginning with the development of civilizations and hunter-gatherers. Starting in sixth grade, students will focus more on Texas and U.S. history.

View the drafts of the proposals here.

What are the next steps before the curriculum is adopted?

SBOE will hold its first hearing on the new drafts on Monday. The board is expected to have its second meeting on the subject in late August with plans to adopt the final standards in November. Book publishers will then set about writing new textbooks and instructional materials to fit the standards.

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, Garrett and Cecilia Boone, The Meadows Foundation, The Murrell Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University, Todd A. Williams Family Foundation and the University of Texas at Dallas. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.

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