Since 2001, there has been a pedagogical question about how to teach the events of September 11th to students who may or may not have directly experienced them. Teachers differ on whether or not the events should even be discussed in schools. Further, those who wish to teach the events differed on how the events should be taught. School official and textbook publishers were unsure how to handle the events.
Middle and high school textbooks present the attacks of September 11th as a narrative, effects-driven story. They lack causal factors and focusing heavily on stories of individual heroism. Most importantly, the day is portrayed as an archetypal struggle between hero and villain with the United States presented as the victor.
In Texas, since 2010, this has been one of the subjects under debate by the State Board of Education. The current state standards for high school list the teaching of September 11 under section 113.42(c)(14) “The student understands the development of radical Islamic fundamentalism and the subsequent use of terrorism by some of its adherents.” The standards do not outline how teachers should explain the events; however, by listing it in this category, September 11 is seen as a result to Islamic fundamentalism and nothing else. United States foreign policy with Middle Eastern countries is not discussed in this category beyond American reactions to terrorist attacks.
This abstract idea of radical religion is difficult to teach students, and does not seem politically correct when printed in a textbook. As a result, textbooks published after 2001 tell the events of September 11 in a narrative, almost fairy-tale like story. Textbooks point to a single, wicked enemy- the Muslim group al-Qaeda and a united front of heroes- average Americans. Further, most textbooks focus heavily on how the United States reacted to the attacks and lack major casual descriptions. Most portrayals read like a story about good vs. evil, and individual Americans are the heroes.