Commissioner George P. Bush Remarks at SBOE Social Studies Hearing
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush released remarks for the record at the State Board of Education hearing on the proposed Texas social studies curriculum. The changes suggest removing the Travis letter and the word “heroic” from descriptions of the Alamo defenders, from the state curriculum. Commissioner Bush stands adamantly against the proposed changes.
“Good morning, madam chairman and members of the State Board of Education. My name is George P. Bush. I am your Texas land commissioner, a military veteran, and I am the guardian of our Alamo. I was born in the city of Houston and I am also a former history teacher.
On the Alamo team we have some simple beliefs: Other places have history, but Texas has legends. Texas is more than a place on a map, it’s an idea in the hearts of our people.
But those ideas, legends and our history are in danger of being intentionally forgotten by watering down our children’s education. They’re our future Texans and Texas leaders.
We’ve all heard of the proposal by the TEKS committee to remove the Travis letter and the word “heroic” from descriptions of the Alamo defenders, from the state curriculum.
But there’s more in those proposals that ought to offend all Texans.
Dr. Sharon Skrobarcek of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas has gone through the recommendations. She tells us that they want to remove Sam Houston from a list of significant historical figures. They want to change San Jacinto Day to “Constitution Day.”
These proposals are not about “trimming class time.” They are about diluting Texas history. We must not turn our backs on our heroes and their highest values. We must preserve the Alamo and the ideals of the Texas Revolution so future Texans know who we are, where we came from and our place in the nation and the world.
George Orwell said, “He who controls the past, controls the future.” That’s what this discussion of the past is really about: the future.
Texas’ legends are rooted in the people who founded this great state. The men and women who blazed trails to get here. Who settled this wild land. Who made history here.
The people who fought, bled and died for its freedom.
One of these people – these heroes – was William Barret Travis. As commander of the Texians and Tejanos under siege at the Alamo in 1836, 26-year-old Travis wrote a 250-word call for reinforcements. This letter is not just in the state archives today, it’s in the heart and soul of Texas. The committee says there’s no time to study Travis’ letter? It takes up too much time? They’re wrong. “Victory or Death” must remain in the Texas history curriculum. Period.
Travis was a hero. So was Jose Toribio Losoya. Losoya was born in the Alamo. He grew up in the Alamo. He served in the Alamo. And when duty called, he fought for Texas in the Alamo.
Toribio Losoya died in the Alamo. His body was found just inside the chapel after the battle. As one of his descendants wrote to us after hearing about the committee recommendations, “If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is.” She’s right.
Losoya, Travis, Crockett, Bowie, Kent, Lindley, Esparza, Jimenez…heroes. All 189 of them.
Texas is the freest, strongest, most prosperous and yes, the greatest state in our union. Texas may well be the last, best hope to keep America free.
But not if we don’t know where we came from or who we are. Not if we turn our backs on our heroes. And that’s what these politically correct, but factually wrong, recommendations would do. They would have us turn our backs on our past, placing our future in jeopardy.
Today, we must draw our line in the sand over this politically correct deception.
Travis declared “Victory or Death!” – and gave the ultimate sacrifice the Alamo.
Houston’s men rode to victory at San Jacinto shouting “Remember The Alamo!”
Houston’s men remembered their slain friends – and what the Alamo heroes stood for.
As the Alamo’s guardian, and a son of Texas, I urge the State Board of Education to remember the Alamo – and its heroes – and teach our children about them. And not just Texas children – America’s children. Texas’ school textbooks set the tone for the rest of the nation. What happens here won’t stay here in Texas. If we don’t honor our heroes, soon no one will.
These great heroes exemplify honor, courage and sacrifice for the cause of liberty. They and their highest values must stay in the Texas history curriculum. Period. Our future as a free people depends on it.
Honor the past. Guard our future.
Thank you and God bless the Lone Star, the Alamo heroes, and the great state of Texas.”