TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES TEXTBOOKS WITH CHANGES NO ONE HAS VETTED
Idea of an Open, Transparent Adoption Process Is a Sham, TFN President Says
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2014
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller had the following statement on today’s State Board of Education vote to adopt new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools.
“What we saw today shows very clearly that the process the State Board of Education uses to adopt textbooks is a sham,” Miller said. “This board adopted textbooks with numerous late changes that the public had little opportunity to review and comment on and that even board members themselves admitted they had not read. They can’t honestly say they know what’s in these textbooks, which could be in classrooms for a decade.”
Miller was critical of board Republicans for rejecting a common-sense proposal by their Democratic colleagues to delay adoption of the textbooks until Dec. 1 so that late changes could be vetted for accuracy.
The Texas Education Agency posted scores of pages of publisher comments and textbook revisions after the last public hearing on Tuesday. Miller said scholars did not have an opportunity to review and comment on the numerous changes publishers have submitted since the last public hearing on Tuesday. Some of those changes appeared to have been negotiated with state board members behind closed doors.
During a months-long process, publishers made a number of improvements to their textbooks. Those improvements included removing inaccurate information promoting climate change denialism; deleting offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens; making clearer that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War; and revising passages that had promoted unfair negative stereotypes of Muslims. Scholars and the general public had ample opportunity to review and comment on those revisions.
However, the new textbooks also include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of democracy can be found in the Old Testament. Scholars from across the country have said such claims are inaccurate and mislead students about the historical record.
The Texas Freedom Network is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom, individual liberties and public education.