July 13, 2020

Lester Serves on Newseum Panel on Religious Literacy

Assistant Professor of Political Science Emile Lester

Associate Professor of Political Science Emile Lester

Associate Professor of Political Science Emile Lester served on a panel for a discussion titled “Religious Literacy in Public Schools: What to Teach and How” at the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 9. Hosted by The Religious Freedom Center and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the panel coincided with the publication of Teaching about Religion in the Social Studies Classroom,” a new resource from NCSS.

About the Book: The study of religion is essential for understanding the past and present, and critical for global citizenship in a religiously diverse country and world. This book provides advice, recommendations and resources to help social studies educators know what to teach about religion and how to do it.

Emile Lester Talks about Texas Curriculum in Radio Interview

Emile Lester, assistant professor of political science, traveled to Texas to testify before the State Board of Education on its social studies curriculum. He was interviewed on Red River Radio. According to the story:

“Both conservative and liberal groups have raised concerns over the curriculum standards, which were last updated in 2010. Some topics at issue are how the history of slavery and the civil war are taught. Another issue: the extent to which religion influenced the founding fathers. For example, those 2010 standards describe Moses, from the Bible, as a major influence on the nation’s founding documents.”

Said Lester: “For example TEKS 1C of the high school government course asks students to view Moses as a major influence on our founding documents. Now as a Jewish person, Moses holds a special place in my heart, but there’s no evidence that our founders had Moses in mind when they were drafting the constitution. In fact, in two letters to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams openly denied the 10 commandments were the basis of our constitution and our legal system.”

After public outcry, Texas unlikely to ax references to ‘heroism’ of Alamo defenders from history curriculum (Dallas News.com; Herald-Mail Media.com)

Texas Board Of Education To Vote On Social Studies Curriculum (Red River Radio)

Ideology tops facts in Texas history curriculum, experts say (The Dallas Examiner)

Ideology tops facts in Texas history curriculum experts say (Statesman.com)

Take politics out of Texas classrooms (Caller Times)

Ideology Tops Facts in Texas History Curriculum, Experts Say (U.S. News & World Report)

5 Problematic Passages in Texas Textbook on Mexican-American Studies (Statesman.com)

Secrecy in the “Sunshine Era” (With Good Reason)