How We Tell Stories in Texas

One Texas-educated writer reveals some gaps in her schooling and wonders what it might look like if children were taught to think critically instead of seeing themselves as kings of the wild frontier.

Back in 1994, I couldn’t wait for seventh grade to begin, because the fabled yearlong class on Texas history was finally here. Nowhere else in the country was there a preteen this excited about a history class. 

My excitement had less to do with loving school, and everything to do with a rite of passage. This class would give me the knowledge and the credentials to become a real Texan, just in time for me to hit my teenage years. Plus, it was going to be fun. Our state history was so action-packed, so cinematic, it was unlike any other in the country. In fact, we were our own country for a while. We were heroes. All we did was win.  …

Southern states may be leading the charge against inclusive storytelling, but other parts of the country are pushing for these restrictions as well. In order for any state to tell a fuller version of history, we would have to assert that we were sometimes on the wrong side of it. Kids are still very young. They may have smartphones, but they don’t always know what’s being left unsaid, and not all kids challenge what their teachers present. At least for now, they need us to guide them, and to show that learning the whole truth is the greatest rite of passage there is.

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