Texas History Gets New Mexican Twist

"Remember the Alamo" is a battle cry that Texans learn early in their formative years.

But the call to remember the Texas revolution of 168 years ago has a new place in Texas history, somewhere in the back of the textbooks. That may now be changing, in part because some fear rampant pride will alienate the growing Mexican student population in their midst.

"We don't want our Hispanic kids, or any kids, to feel like we're teaching a bias approach," said Angela Miller social studies curriculum manager for the Houston Independent School District.

Over 40 percent of Texas' student population is Hispanic, with most of those tracing their heritage to Mexico. A new curriculum still teaches Texas independence, but administrators say the traditional "us vs. them" perspective has taken a back seat.

"We are all in this together and we include those Hispanic kids who are now in our district who have a heritage from Mexico," Miller said.

But "purists" are up in arms over the new curriculum, and say the school district is re-writing history.

"There is only one way to teach Texas history and that's Texas history," said Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "Now, if you're going to teach Mex history or you're going to teach some other country's history, that's fine. But Texas history is Texas history."

Stein, whose membership-based organization believes mass immigration to the United States should be curtailed, says the new curriculum implies that Mexico has a moral claim to Texas.

"If you teach young people who have allegiances not only to the United States but to Mexico that Texas is stolen, you could be planting the seeds of a separatist movement 30 years from now or sooner," he said.

Miller denies that the new educational mandate is sewing the seeds of a separatist movement.

"No, that's a definite no. This is about looking at points of view and frames of reference," she said.

An old adage says that in war, history is written by those who won. But for today's multicultural Texas, some say history is being rewritten for those who lost.