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Texas panel wants ‘heroes’ term removed from Alamo defenders in school textbooks

A picture of the Alamo Mission at dusk. (Jonathanmallard/WikiCommons)
September 13, 2018

On Friday, the Alamo became the center of an educational controversy in Texas. People from the Lone Star state are divided on whether or not those who struggled to gain Texas independence from Mexico are “heroes.”

A Texas advisory panel recommended the word “heroic” removed from all descriptions of the Texans who fought in the Alamo battle, the Tribunist reported. The advisory panel wants schools to deliver teachings of the epic battle in a different manner by eliminating any wordage that includes “heroic.”

Opponents believe that the battle of Alamo was the single most iconic representation of the state’s independence.

They also do not want students reading the “Travis Letter,” written by Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis during the fight on Feb. 24, 1836. Travis was the Commander of the Texan rebels in the former mission known as the Alamo.

The letter was written as enemy forces, under Mexican dictator Santa Anna, surrounded him and his troops. The Travis letter was addressed to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the world” and signed “Victory or Death.”

This letter is known as one of the most emotive documents in American history.

Currently, the wording for 7th-grade social studies unit title reads the “siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there….”

The pending argument is whether or not those who fought the Alamo deserve hero status.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott did not take news of the recommendation well.

The Governor tweeted: “Stop political correctness in our schools. Of course, Texas schoolchildren should be taught that Alamo defenders were ‘Heroic’! I fully expect the State Board of Education to agree. Contact your SBOE Member to complain.”

Tweets poured in taking both sides but the majority sided with the Governor.

State Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Bahorich is also opposed to the idea.

State land commissioner George P. Bush tweeted: “This politically correct nonsense is why I’ll always fight to honor the Alamo defenders’ sacrifice. His letter & the defenders’ actions must remain at the very core of TX history teaching. This is not debatable to me.”

Debbie Ratcliffe, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said the whole of the curriculum could “be reduced by either deleting information, combining standards or clarifying.”

“That was the goal. They suggested deleting the Travis letter because they think when teachers talk about the Alamo they will absolutely mention it, but not having it outlined specifically just meant teachers would spend less time on it,” Ratcliffe said.

The matter will be voted on by the Texas Board of Education.