State Supt. Walters announces plan for new social studies standards, incorporating Bible

Critics of the decision say it crosses the constitutional boundary between church and state.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — State Superintendent Ryan Walters announced a change he wants to make concerning Oklahoma’s social studies standards.

Walters said the new approach he’s suggesting will “ensure the social studies standards are chronologically sound, reinforced and reiterated through a student’s primary and secondary education, will empower schools to teach from primary sources, and will inspire in students a love of country and a proper understanding of the American founding.”

The new standards would eliminate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion teachings, Walters said in a press release.

These revised standards would incorporate the Bible as an instructional resource, something Walters previously announced he wanted to add. Walters said this would provide accuracy to our social studies curriculum and keep away any politically slanted viewpoints.

Walters said his new social studies standards would provide an emphasis on biography and the study of inspiring leaders in history.

“Oklahomans – citizens, parents, and business leaders alike – are disgusted with the lack of civic knowledge, love for our country, and historical education among our young people. It is crystal clear that we need to return to more rigorous social studies standards that emphasize the unique and exceptional nature of the American republic, promote a proper understanding of the nation’s founding, and instill pride in our civic traditions and Oklahoma heritage,” Walters said. “I am very excited to have enlisted some of the brightest minds available to serve on our Executive Review Committee. Their unparalleled expertise will help craft new academic standards that will serve as a model for the nation and help Oklahoma students for years to come. More than 75 Oklahomans, the vast majority of whom are public school teachers, are engaged in updating our academic standards.”

So far, the members of Walters’ Executive Review Committee are:

  • Dennis Prager, founder of Prager U
  • Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
  • David Barton, an American author and the founder of WallBuilders, LLC
  • Dr. Kevin Roberts, became President of The Heritage Foundation in October 2021. Previously served as CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Everett Piper, served as President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University from 2002 to 2019
  • John Dwyer, author and journalist, founder of Dallas-Fort Worth Heritage Newspaper
  • David Goodwin, involved in classical Christian education for more than three decades. Served as headmaster of The Ambrose School for 13 years, currently the president of the Association of Classical Christian Schools
  • Mark Bauerlein, an English professor emeritus at Emory University and senior editor of First Things
  • Steve Deace, an American talk show host and author, known for his program The Steve Deace Show on Blaze Media
  • Stacy Washington, co-chairwoman of the Project 21 National Advisory Council of the National Center for Public Policy Research

House Democrats have voiced their concerns regarding Walters’ announcement, claiming the introduction of the Bible into course curriculum would be a violation of constitutional rights.

“The State Superintendent continues to put his extremist political agenda over the needs of Oklahoma’s students and teachers,” House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, said. “His Executive Review Committee is made up of extremist Republicans who are seeking to strip Oklahomans of their right to freedom of religion and a well-rounded, public education. It is a continued attack on Oklahomans and another attempt at erasing the valuable programs that are actively benefiting Oklahoma’s students and the future of our state. Our public school teachers are leaving the classroom in droves, and this latest action only exasperates this very real challenge we are facing in our public schools – both in urban and rural Oklahoma. Since the Republican supermajority has done very little to hold the State Superintendent accountable, he continues to be emboldened to dismantle, defund, and destroy our public school system daily.”

Current House Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa, a former educator, said this overhaul is a dangerous political tactic.

“The latest atrocity from OSDE is an affront to the Oklahoma educators who have always developed and refined our social studies standards,” Waldron said. “This ‘carpetbagger curriculum’ would be made up from whole cloth by a panel of out-of-state so-called experts, and would represent a dangerous politicization of our academic process. Simply put, this is un-American and un-Oklahoman.”

Another former educator and current House Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, said these new standards do not address the needs of Oklahoma children and parents.

“We already know that the State Superintendent doesn’t care about the children and parents of Oklahoma; he only cares for himself and his next appearance on far-right news media,” Rosecrants said. “His enlisting of out-of-state extremists behind Project 2025 to revamp our own Oklahoma State standards in social studies only further proves this. The State Superintendent says Oklahomans want to erase the line between church and state, but that is simply not true. Oklahomans are disgusted by his blatant disregard of the Constitution.”

Ben Morgan

Ben Morgan

News Editor

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