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Proposal to stop calling Alamo defenders 'heroic' has Texas governor fuming

An advisory panel recommended Texas seventh grade teachers stop referring to Alamo defenders as "heroic." (Jill Torrance/Getty Images)

Not everyone believes that the soldiers who defended the Alamo in 1836 were heroic, and an advisory board has proposed that Texas teachers stop describing them in such a way, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The panel's recommendation to the Texas State Board of Education has drawn the ire of several state politicians who fear this is another instance of political correctness ruling the day.

"Stop political correctness in our schools," wrote Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Twitter on Thursday. "Of course Texas schoolchildren should be taught that Alamo defenders were 'Heroic'! I fully expect the State Board of Education to agree. Contact your SBOE Member to complain."

Why would they make this change?

Some argue that the way the Alamo is taught to students currently is oversimplified, and paints a picture of white heroes against evil Mexican enemies.

"Many times the Alamo gets boiled down, as it often does in movies, to the Mexicans are the bad guys and the good guys are good Anglos in coon-skin caps," said Walter Buenger, a Texas historian at the University of Texas in Austin. "Part of the problem with the word 'heroic' may be that it's too simplistic."

A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said the proposal was made in part because the curriculum standards are too long.

Politicians push back

In addition to Gov. Abbott, land commissioner George P. Bush also criticized the Alamo proposal.

"This politically correct nonsense is why I'll always fight to honor the Alamo defenders' sacrifice," Bush tweeted. "His letter & the defenders' actions must remain at the very core of TX history teaching. This is not debatable to me."

Bush was referring to the infamous "Victory or Death" letter written during the battle by Lt. Col. William Barrett Travis.

The State Board of Education will discuss the proposal next week at a Tuesday public hearing, and it could be voted on by the committee on Friday before going to a potential final vote in November.

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