The Texas Senate is considering a bill, which could be voted on any day now, that would give State Board of Education members the power to censor textbook content they don’t like.
The proposal is Senate Bill 801 by state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo. The bill hinges on one word: “suitable.” SB 801 would give SBOE members the power to reject textbooks or other instructional material with content they deem is not “suitable.” As we know too well, with this board, “suitable” could frankly mean just about anything they don’t like.
Here’s a small sampling of textbook content that has been called unsuitable at the Texas SBOE:
- Facts about evolution and climate change
- A photograph of a mother carrying a briefcase and leaving home for work
- Accurate history of slavery and civil rights struggles
- Labor leader Cesar Chavez, civil rights icon Dolores Huerta and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
If SB 801 becomes law, board members could, based solely on personal opinions, censor textbook content simply by deeming it “unsuitable.” We need your help to stop this bill if it comes up for a vote in the Senate.
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When you call, tell your senator:
- Censorship hides factual information from students but also limits choices for school districts.
- To stay competitive in the Texas market, publishers do almost anything to get SBOE approval for their textbooks. But they have withdrawn submitted textbooks under SBOE consideration rather than make all of the changes to factually accurate content board members have demanded. Some have decided not even to submit a textbook in some courses, such as health.