WASP fans win on trip to Austin to keep band in history books

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UPDATE

The Texas State Board of Education formally approved its social studies curriculum at a meeting Friday.

ORIGINAL STORY

AUSTIN — A contingent of supporters and more than 5,500 signatures on an electronic petition may have kept female Air Force pilots from flying out of the sophomore history books in Texas.

According to Ann E. Hobing, president and CEO of the National WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater, said there was cause for celebration Tuesday after she and seven others asked the Texas Board of Education to reconsider the change of program.

She said Marty Rowley, the District 15 representative on the state board that represents Abilene and Sweetwater, told her that a motion to remove strikethrough from the written program — effectively adding WASP to the history books – received the unanimous support of the other administrators.

Continued:The history of WASP is made of stings, buzz and perseverance

The Reporter-News’ phone calls to Rowley seeking comment were not immediately answered.

Hobing said the children and grandchildren of several WASP graduates, including one who flew in from Washington, DC, and two students from Sweetwater High School made the trip here to testify Tuesday.

They have made their case and are now awaiting a final vote on Friday, when the program will be officially accepted.

“Today we won part of the battle by ensuring the barred WASP was removed from the program,” Hobing said. “We expect more good news on Friday, which would mean that the best efforts of everyone involved, including the 5,500 petition signatories, have been heard.”

WASP supporters were concerned when the state school board revealed a number of historical figures who would be removed from state education standards, called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS.

Continued:WASP supporters fight to keep the group in the history books in Austin

WASP is currently taught in a citizenship block, with Navajo Code Talkers also facing elimination.

Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton are other historical figures being considered for removal by Curriculum Advisory Boards, although Rowley has previously said he was approached to help keep Keller in the TEKS.

If the information is deleted from TEKS, it could result in the deletion of the manuals, which are written to match the program. The Texas program affects other states because publishers do not supply individual states with their own books.

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