Sunday, June 20, 2010

As Texas textbooks go to the right, so go . . .

This concerns what your and our children may learn in years to come about U.S. history and the world. With the largest number of students in the country, Califas y Tejas wield great influence with textbook publishers, and the rest of the states suffer the consequences. The Texas State Board of Education made significant right-wing revisionist changes to textbooks they will use for years to come.

Among others, People for the American Way launched a campaign to try to stop the changes at major publishers. Here are just some of the "high"-lights you might see coming to a textbook in your neighborhood schools:

"Former Clinton White House Science Adviser Jeff Schweitzer summed up the revisions well, noting that the new standards:
  • Question the separation of church and state under the false premise that we are a Christian nation.
  • Relabel the United States a "constitutional republic" instead of a democracy (think the names of our two major political parties).
  • Remove the New Deal from a timeline of significant historical events, because Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts were socialistic.
  • Describe Reagan's invasion of Granada in 1983 as a "rescue" and praises Reagan for his "role in restoring national confidence, such as Reagonomics and Peace with Strength." (No mention of Iran-Contra.)
  • Note Nixon's "role in normalizing relations with China and the policy of détente," but don't mention Watergate.
A picture of a business woman holding a briefcase was even pulled and replaced with a mother baking a cake. And while an attempt to remove Thomas Jefferson from a major part of the curriculum (presumably because of his liberal views on government and religion) failed, labor leader, civil rights icon (and PFAW board member) Dolores Huerta was removed along with others who did not conform to the Far Right's narrow ideals.

There were many more changes that simply cannot be allowed to be printed in textbooks to be used by students nationwide.

Take action to make sure Texas' controversial standards do not impact the education of students in other states."

The following petition was posted here, in case you want to sign it:

To Whom It May Concern:

Textbook publishers have traditionally used content which conforms disproportionately to the textbook and curriculum standards of one state: Texas. The Texas State Board of Education is currently a political body dominated by ideological extremists who are seeking to rewrite history and use social studies textbooks to advance a political agenda. Textbooks should be prepared by those with substantive subject matter expertise and not to promote a particular political worldview.

No state's market should dictate the textbook content for the nation as a whole, and that is particularly feasible now due to recent advances in printing and publishing technologies.

We, the undersigned, therefore urge your company to publish textbooks free of political or ideological bias and to reject any controversial Texas-required content in the publishing and distribution of textbooks for other states."

There's chingos more. If you want further information, you can go here.

Es todo, hoy



Anonymous said...

For the real facts about the Texas Social Studies standards, go to

Anonymous said...

The Texas Social Studies standards are now available for everyone to read. Go to to find a link to the actual standards.