The most powerful way to advocate for accurate textbooks is to testify at one of the public hearings generally held in July and September of adoption years. The hearings are the primary venue for the news media to witness the levels of grassroots and expert support or opposition to a particular measure.
In addition to following the guide below, you can read the Texas Education Agency’s guide on public testimony here.
Before the Hearing You Should
- Register to testify. Go to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) web site to view the sign-up form. E-mail or fax the form to TEA.
- Read the relevant sections of the proposed books. SBOE members regularly ask witnesses if they have read a textbook. You can check out a textbook at any of the TEA Regional Service Centers. To find the Regional Service Center nearest you, please visit the TEA website.
At the Hearing You Should
- Wait your turn. There will be an ordered list of those signed up for public testimony available at the door. A TEA staff member will announce the next speaker.
- Prepare a written copy of your statement and bring 25 copies. When you are called to the podium to testify, a TEA staffer will take your copies and distribute them to the Board and to the press table.
- Be succinct. The Board observes a strict three minute time limit for each testimony. A warning bell will ring two minutes into your testimony. Keep talking until the three minute bell rings, complete your thought and thank the Board.
- Be prepared for follow-up questions from individual board members.
The SBOE holds public textbook hearings in Room 1-104 of the William B. Travis Building, which is located just north of the Capitol at 1701 North Congress Avenue in Austin. There is ample public parking across the street at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum.
In the hearing room, the 15 SBOE members sit facing each other with a podium off to the side for public testimony. The public may view the hearing and come and go as they please.