AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Public schools in Texas would describe slavery to second graders as “involuntary relocation” under new social studies standards proposed to the state’s education board.
The board is considering curriculum changes one year after Texas passed a law to eliminate topics from schools that make students “feel discomfort.”
Part of the proposed draft standards obtained by The Texas Tribune say students should “compare journeys to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary relocation of African people during colonial times.”
In this case, the group proposing these second grade curriculum revisions was given a copy of Senate Bill 3, Texas’ law that dictates how slavery and issues of race are taught in Texas. The law states that slavery can’t be taught as part of the true founding of the United States and that slavery was nothing more than a deviation from American values.
Annette Gordon-Reed, a history professor at Harvard University, said using “involuntary relocation” to describe slavery threatens to blur out what actually occurred during that time in history. There is no reason to use the proposed language, she said.
“Young kids can grasp the concept of slavery and being kidnapped into it,” Gordon-Reed said. “The African slave trade is unlike anything that had or has happened, the numbers and distance.”
Currently slavery is currently not being taught to second graders.