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Sun Nov 23, 2014, 11:44 AM

Texas Approves Disputed History Texts for Schools

cross post from GD http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025856909

AUSTIN, Tex. — Texas’ State Board of Education has approved new history textbooks, but only after defeating six and seeing a top publisher withdraw a seventh — capping months of outcry over lessons that some academics say exaggerate the influence of Moses in American democracy and negatively portray Muslims.

The board on Friday approved 89 books and classroom software packages that more than five million public school students will begin using next fall. But it took hours of sometimes testy discussion and left publishers scrambling to make hundreds of last-minute edits, some to no avail. A proposal to delay the vote to allow the board and general public to better check those changes was defeated. “I’m comfortable enough that these books have been reviewed by many, many people,” said Thomas Ratliff, a Republican and the board’s vice chairman. “They are not perfect. They never will be.”

The history, social studies and government textbooks were submitted for approval this summer, and academics and activists on the right and left criticized many of them. Some worried that the textbooks were too sympathetic to Islam or played down the achievements of President Ronald Reagan. Others said they overstated the importance of Moses to America’s founding fathers or trumpeted the free-market system too much.

Bitter ideological disputes over what is taught in Texas classrooms have for years attracted national attention. The new books follow the state academic curriculum adopted in 2010, when Republicans on the board approved standards including conservative-championed topics like Moses and his influence on systems of law. They said those would counter what they saw as liberal biases in classrooms.


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Reply Texas Approves Disputed History Texts for Schools (Original post)
liberal N proud Nov 2014 OP
Xipe Totec Nov 2014 #1
liberal N proud Nov 2014 #3
Igel Nov 2014 #4
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2014 #5
shenmue Nov 2014 #2

Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 11:47 AM

1. I'm gonna need bigger boots - the shit's getting deep in the heart of Texas. nt

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Response to Xipe Totec (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 11:57 AM

3. They are doing what they can to spread it all over...

This one effects schools all over America

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 12:18 PM

4. It doesn't affect much in the rest of the country.

It did when there were two powerhouse textbook buyers, California and Texas, and lots of little markets. Then publishers would suit either Calif. or TX--but not both, so there was still a choice ... This is something that the (R) and (D) both ignored, with the conservatives focusing on the textbooks California influenced and (D) focusing on textbooks that Texas influenced.

In the last big round of textbook adoptions a bit more than 10 years ago California bailed. It wasn't going to be able to afford large purchases. Suddenly the prog./dem. narrative was closer to being true, but that was only because California wasn't seriously in the market. A lot of textbooks were geared to the 3rd, benched, player in what had been a two-player game, the other 48 states.

This time the situation is rather reversed. A lot of proposed textbooks from established, mainstream publishers have "Texas" editions that are warmed over Common Core editions. That helps explain a lot of the shoddiness or sloppiness in them. They did a quick edit to add what Texas TEKS needed, what they thought the TEA would want, and that wasn't part of the original textbook development.

Common Core rules. Even in Texas, which is dogmatically *not* Common Core. (The publishers just remove the words and put "Texas Edition" on the same product, for the most part.)

In the grand tradition of burying the lede, however, the bigger point is this: There are a lot of vendors pushing products. Many of those vendors are small start-ups that are selling primarily on-line wares. This accounts for an even larger proportion of the sloppiness in the textbooks, since these are small companies pushing new products that haven't even finished writing and making the product (by their own advertising materials). The TEA teams evaluated portions of a product--portions that were in beta, with perhaps 60 or 80% of the remaining product in alpha or even still having the specs written and materials assembled for writing.

This gives those vendors a lot of flexibility in updating and changing their products in real time. The paper textbook in Texas, once adopted, cannot be changed. So in 2013 some school districts, in response to increased enrollment in Earth Science, had to buy more copies of a textbook that was published in 1997. Yes, it had been revised in something like 2003 and 2006 and 2010, but the approved edition was from 1997. (It's a foolish law, but I suspect any revision to the law would be even more foolish.)

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Response to Igel (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 03:05 PM

5. Thank you for that intelligent post and information.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 11:56 AM

2. I feel so sorry

for the kids, and for the teachers who understand this is b.s.

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