SBOE Adopts Social Studies Textbooks After Religious Right Revamp


November 15, 2002

Austin, TX The State Board of Education today made its final vote to adopt proposed Social Studies textbooks that critics say have been substantially revised by Religious Right groups.

Critics challenge that many changes made to the books adopted today do not simply correct factual errors, as state law proscribes, but make radical content changes that promote the personal religious and political beliefs of a few groups.

Changes made at the request of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy members, for example, will delete passages that describe Islam positively and add text on the appeal of Christianity, eliminate scientific dates so as not to conflict with Biblical timelines, delete sections on other cultures, and eliminate critical thinking exercises that discuss social issues.

Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that counters the Religious Right, said these changes have harmed the integrity of the textbooks adopted today.

“We now have textbooks missing scientific dates for events like the Ice Age because these groups didn’t want ancient geological events to predate Biblical timelines,” said Smoot. “We now have books that gloss over America’s role in slavery because a few people thought it was un-American and too negative to discuss it. We now have textbooks with less discussion of environmental problems, social issues and other cultures because they were not consistent with the radical right’s worldview.”

The Texas Freedom Network delivered over 4,000 postcards earlier this week to the State Board of Education, Commissioner Felipe Alanis, textbook publishers and legislators as part of its “I Object!” campaign against textbook censorship.