Texas may remove Helen Keller from curriculum
01:49 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Texas students may no longer have to learn about Hillary Clinton, Barry Goldwater and Helen Keller in social studies class.

The committee voted 12-2, with one abstention, on Tuesday to continue teaching students about Clinton in high school history classes, according to State Board of Education Director Debbie Ratcliffe. The board also voted to keep Keller on the curriculum.

The vote reverses a September preliminary decision to cut the women, along with 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater and several other historical figures, from the required curriculum. The board said then that the change was intended to streamline the curriculum for its 5.4 million students at the recommendation of volunteer work groups.

Texas wants to delete some content from the required curriculum so that teachers can take deeper dives into certain topics, rather than emphasizing such things as the memorization of dates, Donna Bahorich, chairperson of the Texas State Board of Education said in a statement Monday.

“Texas simply has too many learning standards, required to be taught and assessed on state assessments, for educators to cover in a year,” she said.

Bahorich said that the board realizes people disagree on who is essential to include in the required curriculum.

The working groups looked at historical figures and scored them on a point system, with factors including diverse perspectives, whether they were part of a watershed moment and the impact on or for underrepresented groups.

Clinton scored a five; Keller, an advocate for the deaf and blind, a seven; and Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate, received no points.

Evangelist Billy Graham scored a 4 on the scale, and an earlier working group recommended he be removed from the curriculum. But he was back in the final recommendation.

The preliminary vote did bring some criticism.

“If Helen Keller was an important historical figure when I was in school (and she was), then she still is today,” Texas state Rep. Chris Turner tweeted Friday. “@HillaryClinton is the 1st and only woman to be the presidential nominee of a major party in U.S. history. Enough said.”

What is perhaps the most famous landmark in Texas also came up for discussion. The school board rejected an advisory board’s recommendation that the word “heroic” not be used to describe the defenders of the Alamo against the Mexican army in 1836. The board did give final approval on a new Mexican-American studies course.

The school board will vote again on Friday to finalize the new curriculum.

CNN’s Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.