Undergrad Research: “Our TEKS,” a Theatrical Production and AMS Senior Thesis

Today we share with you news about an upcoming theatrical production, “Our TEKS,” written by and directed by American Studies graduating senior Kelli Schultz.

Texas State Flag

As Kelli describes,

“Our TEKS” is a theatrical exploration of my American Studies/Plan II senior thesis. Over the past year, I have followed the Texas textbook controversy by conducting dozens of interviews with educators, government officials and textbook publishers. These interviews, along with transcripts of Board meetings and media coverage, were combined into a play, which explores the 2010 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). It’s Our Town meets Barnum & Bailey meets The Colbert Report.

And, in a bit more depth, here’s the official abstract for the project:

In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education drafted a list of over 100 amendments to the social studies curriculum, which explicitly defined what teachers must include in their K-12 classrooms. Some of the changes include replacing the term democracy with constitutional republic, emphasizing the religious foundations of our country and removing “Hip Hop” as a cultural art form. While the media charged the board with rewriting history, others would commend the elected officials for correcting an already liberal bias in the educational system. Utilizing a documentary-based style of devised theatre, we will explore the straight facts, pure fiction and implications surrounding the 2010 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

We were lucky enough to learn about the project from Kelli last week at the Undergraduate Honors Symposium (side note: expect a write-up and photographs from that wonderful event soon!) and, we must say, we’re very excited to see the production. If you have an interest in education, Texas, American history, theater, or the intersections between politics and artistic representation, you best not miss it.

The production will run two nights, April 30 and May 1, at WIN 2.180. Both shows begin at 8pm. More nitty-gritty details can be found here.

We are also told there will be cookies and balloon animals, so… there’s also that.