TN Legislators See Obvious Flaws In History Ed Bill, Advance It Anyway

Present law suggests the teaching of founding documents, but doesn't mandate it. The bill sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) would mandate instruction as well as require reporting compliance to the state. Credit: Douglas Culver via Flickr

Present law suggests the teaching of founding documents, but doesn’t mandate it. The bill sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) would mandate instruction as well as require reporting compliance to the state. Credit: Douglas Culver via Flickr

Lawmakers at the Tennessee capitol agree that a proposal to mandate new history curriculum in every public school has flaws. And yet they advanced the legislation anyway on Tuesday.

This bill requires teaching about the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence – something House Education Subcommittee chairman Mark White called as non-controversial as “mom, apple pie and baseball.”

But buried in the legislation is an attempt to strike a law that ensures textbooks include contributions from minorities. Instead, it requires that history books focus on the contributions of U.S. citizens.

Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville) pointed out that slaves weren’t considered full citizens.

“To have this piece in there in textbooks is troublesome,” he said.

Still, Love and all nine members of the education panel approved the legislation, on the condition that its sponsor remain open to changes.

The Republican-led bill already passed the Senate unanimously, despite concerns from the governor’s office, which said the legislature should leave curriculum decisions up to boards of education.

Nearly 40 bills related to curriculum and textbooks have been filed this session.

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