The Textbook Vote Is in – Here's What We Accomplished

It’s over. The State Board of Education just approved new social studies textbooks and they’re headed to classrooms. So where do we stand?

Perhaps the biggest headline of this whole saga: the important changes made to the books thanks to TFN’s work with scholars and activists like you:

REMOVED: climate-change denial
REMOVED: biased depiction of affirmative action
CORRECTED: slavery identified as primary cause of Civil War
REJECTED: inflammatory content stereotyping Muslims

We knew these battles were coming four years ago when the state board adopted politicized standards, so we invested heavily to prepare. We’re already investing for future battles — and we need your support. If you think this work at the SBOE is valuable, then I invite you to say ‘thank you’ with a donation to TFN.

We got important corrections in the textbooks, but I don’t want to imply that the new books are perfect. Many include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of democracy can be found in the Old Testament. The board and publishers rebuffed repeated efforts to correct those inaccuracies.

And once again the state’s process for approving textbooks was revealed to be a sham, as state board members voted for last-minute changes that they had never even read. Those changes were approved without any input whatsoever from historians and experts.

But here’s my biggest takeaway: TFN is needed in this state more than ever. Our state’s process for approving textbooks is fundamentally broken, and TFN is the watchdog at every meeting keeping extremists from getting whatever they want. TFN works extensively with teachers and scholars to provide specific corrections that eliminate bias and errors in proposed textbooks, something the state’s own review process clearly fails to accomplish.

That level of commitment is expensive, so I ask you to make a contribution to keep up this crucial work. Any gift you make will help offset costs incurred during this round — and will help us get ready for future textbook battles.

With gratitude and resolve,
Kathy Miller
TFN President

10 thoughts on “The Textbook Vote Is in – Here's What We Accomplished

  1. As a University of Texas trained historian, I am a bit baffled by your description of correction that the US Civil War’s primary cause was slavery. This is patently false and has been disproved through historic documents and research many times over.
    I also don’t know what you mean by climate change denial removed. There is such a thing as climate change denial so what do you mean by it was removed? I assume you mean that ideas which question the politicalisation of climate issues was removed in some way.

    1. I’m not sure if you are referring to the notion that the Civil War was about State’s rights, which is true inasmuch as it was about State’s rights TO OWN SLAVES. If it had been about State’s rights to throw a hoe-down or State’s rights to ban pig farming, the Civil War would never have happened. I know there was the whole argument about State’s rights to secede from the Union, but once again, the whole reason that argument was brought forth was because they wanted to keep their slaves. They wouldn’t have wanted to secede if not for that. To reduce its underlying cause to such a simplistic and sterilized reason is selling the whole struggle for freedom really short.

      1. Those state-rights states did not support state rights when it came to anti-slavery states declairing anyone within their bounds to be free. The slave owners held that if they brought slaves into a free state they were still property. If an escaped slave crossed the border into a free state they were still a slave. State-rights has always been a cover-up for pro-slavery.

    2. It really doesn’t matter where you say you were “trained” — the issue in interpreting history is to make sense of the documents and other evidence, separating out later interpretations from what was going on at the time. It is true that a few Confederate statesmen, notably Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Judah Benjamin, tried to downplay the slavery issue and raise other points that they claimed impelled southern states to secede. Notably, these arguments were made only by southerners who had some familiarity with the international situation and were well aware that the Confederacy would need the support of Great Britain and France, if the rebellion was to succeed. Great Britain and France, both in popular sentiment and government policy, were strongly opposed to slavery. Efforts were therefore made to find a fig-leaf — to claim that other issues than slavery were the REAL reason for secession. These few statements have been seized upon in more recent times by apologists for the Confederacy who still struggle to put a loftier and more benign face on what was really vicious bigotry and brutality. Returning to the evidence — take a look at a contemporary document: the Journal of the Texas Secession Convention, containing both the speeches of the Texas delegates, and a statement from a representative sent from Louisiana to address the Texas convention. There can be little doubt that the major issue, indeed almost the only issue in the minds of the Texans, was the continuation of slavery.

    3. Mr. Kiblinger, here is a link to South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession. Please read it from paragraph 15 and following;

      And, here is Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession;

      Please note the first sentence of the second paragraph–“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.”

      Do you still maintain that the Civil War was not about slavery?

  2. why are there no links to what you changed on climate change, civil war, affirmative action, etc? I want to see before and after!

    pls post, then send me a link (or direct me to where it already is — but I can’t find it on your site)

  3. For those who may not have ready access to the Journal of the Secession Convention, here is an excerpt. Note: in this document, when the writers use the terms “confederacy,” or “Confederated States,” they are actually referring to the Federal Union, not to the Confederate States of America which was at the time this was written, not yet in existence.

    City of Austin Texas. Saturday, Feby..2nd A.D. 1861.
    2 o’clock P.M.
    In Secret Session.

    Mr. Brown, from the committee to prepare an address to the people of Texas, made the following report.
    The undersigned committee appointed to prepare and report an address for the consideration of the Convention, setting forth the causes which induced the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union, herewith report a ’declaration’ of such causes and recommend its adoption.
    John Henry Brown,
    George Flournoy,
    Jno. A. Wilcox,
    M.D. Graham and
    A.P. Wiley, committee

    The government of the United States, by certain joint resolutions, bearing date the 1st day of March, in the year A. D. 1845, proposed to the Republic of Texas, then a free, sovereign and independent nation, the annexation of the latter to the former, as one of the co-equal States thereof, The people of Texas, by deputies in convention assembled, on the fourth day of July of the same year, assented to and accepted said proposals and formed a constitution for the proposed State, upon which on the 29th day of December in the same year, said State was formally admitted into the Confederated Union.

    Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated States to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits—a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?

    The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slave-holding States.

    By the disloyalty of the Northern States and their citizens and the imbecility of the Federal Government, infamous combinations of incendiaries and outlaws have been permitted, in those States and the common territory of Kansas to trample upon the federal laws, to war upon the lives and property of Southern citizens in that territory, and finally, by violence and mob law, to usurp the possession of the same as exclusively the property of the Northern States. The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has refused reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.

    These and other wrongs we have patiently borne in the vain hope that a returning sense of justice and humanity would induce a different course of administration.

    When we advert to the course of individual non-slave-holding States, and that a majority of their citizens, our grievances assume far greater magnitude.

    The States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its framers to perpetuate amity between the members of the confederacy and to secure the rights of the slave-holding States in their domestic institutions—a provision founded in justice and wisdom, and without the enforcement of which the compact fails to accomplish the object of its creation. Some of those States have imposed high fines and degrading penalties upon any of their citizens or officers who may carry out in good faith that provision of the compact, or the federal laws enacted in accordance therewith.

    In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color—a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and the negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.

    For years past this abolition organization has been actively sowing the seeds of discord through the Union, and has rendered the federal congress the arena for spreading firebrands and hatred between the slave-holding and non-slave-holding States.

    By consolidating their strength, they have placed the slave-holding States in a hopeless minority in the federal congress, and rendered representation of no avail in protecting Southern rights against their exactions and encroachments.

    They have proclaimed, and at the ballot box sustained, the revolutionary doctrine that there is a “higher law” than the constitution and laws of our Federal Union, and virtually that they will disregard their oaths and trample upon our rights.

    They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their recapture, and have repeatedly murdered Southern citizens while lawfully seeking their rendition.

    They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens, and through the press their leading men and a fanatical pulpit have bestowed praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes, while the governors of several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted for participation in such offences, upon the legal demands of the States aggrieved.

    They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides.

    They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose.

    They have impoverished the slave-holding States by unequal and partial legislation, thereby enriching themselves by draining our substance.

    They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave-holding State.

    And, finally, by the combined sectional vote of the seventeen non-slave-holding States, they have elected as president and vice-president of the whole confederacy two men whose chief claims to such high positions are their approval of these long continued wrongs, and their pledges to continue them to the final consummation of these schemes for the ruin of the slave-holding States.

    In view of these and many other acts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.

    We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

    That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.

    By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South.

    For these and other reasons, solemnly asserting that the federal constitution has been violated and virtually abrogated by the several States named, seeing that the federal government is now passing under the control of our enemies to be diverted from the exalted objects of its creation to those of oppression and wrong, and realizing that our own State can no longer look for protection, but to God and her own sons—We the delegates of the people of Texas, in Convention assembled, have passed an ordinance dissolving all political connection with the government of the United States of America and the people thereof and confidently appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the freemen of Texas to ratify the same at the ballot box, on the 23rd day of the present month.

    Adopted in Convention on the 2nd day of Feby, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one.

  4. Confederate VP Alexander Stephens: “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

    Seems pretty clear to me.