We told you yesterday how the old warhorse of the right-wing censorship movement in Texas, Educational Research Analysts, works to intimidate publishers and promote a divisive ideological agenda in public school textbooks. As we reported, the group's July newsletter called for the Texas State Board of Education to reject textbooks that are allegedly anti-Christian and pro-Muslim (even though claims of such bias are not supported by facts). Another passage from that same newsletter makes the religious right's obsession with political power and pushing an ideological agenda rather than educating kids even clearer: "Many wrongly think Texas' SBOE can reject only those textbooks that meet less than 50% of its course content standards, flunk certain manufacturing guidelines, or contain factual errors. But it can also dump those that clearly conflict with basic democratic values. For the first time ever the SBOE should invoke that power to warn publishers not to pander to Islam against Christianity ... in their new high school World History submissions. Christian conservative mastery of detail in Texas' textbook approval process is power." [emphasis added] This is a stunning declaration by culture warriors who are determined to put their personal…… Read More

More than a few people have wondered who really authored the inflammatory anti-Muslim resolution the Texas State Board of Education passed in September. Randy Rives, a failed state board candidate from Odessa, asked the board in July to pass the resolution. Rives has told reporters that he and his wife wrote the resolution and combed through 11-year-old textbooks to find supporting "facts" for it. A TFN analysis shows how the resolution was based on grossly misleading and outright false claims. In any case, we have been suspicious of Rives' claim that he authored the resolution, if for no other reason than that the textbooks on which the measure was based haven't been used in Texas for more than seven years. In fact, the Texas Education Agency didn't even have those old world history textbooks on file in Austin. Yet Rives claims that he managed to get hold of those textbooks in Odessa. Well, maybe he did. But we have a much more plausible theory about where that resolution really originated: Educational Research Analysts, the old right-wing warhorse of the textbook "culture wars" in Texas. Read More

by Dan Quinn

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has another story about the perils of educational publishing in Texas. It seems that a play by Peter Sagal, the host of NPR's popular news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, was being considered for inclusion in an end-of-course exam under development for high school English students in Texas. Then, the Star-Telegram explains, a three-word exclamation in the play's dialogue got in the way: Sagal wrote a post on his blog last week about how test maker Pearson Education wanted to include his play as part of an end-of-course English III assessment for Texas schools. "For ten years to come, high school students taking this exam would read my play, and then have to answer questions about it. Neat," Sagal wrote. His excitement turned to confusion when the company told him that the phrase "for God's sake" needed to be cut from the play because it could be deemed offensive by officials at the Texas Education Agency.…… Read More