Texas Textbook Adoption and Erasing History

Back in the fall, I posted some information about the Texas school board’s panel of experts working on new textbook standards for social studies curriculum. 

At that time Talking Points Memo posted some pretty interesting video footage of one these appointed experts questioning textbook authors and experts about the presence of minorities, as well as the presence of Democratic elected official in the new textbook standards. 

I believe committee member “citizen” Bill Ames made a series of political arguments against much in the new history book.  One of his main points was that the real heros of any civil rights movement are the majority party members who generously decide to give minority groups some rights.   (And no I am not being sarcastic here – this was the man’s main argument.)  He proposed getting rid of all the minor brown players in the civil rights section of the book and replacing them with the important white politicians who signed civil rights legislation. 

There really isn’t any need for me to break down more of his arguments because just today there was a pretty interesting comprehensive article in the Texas Tribune on Bill Ames as well as this process to date.  

And as the article points out whatever gets adopted as the new Texas standard textbook will soon be in the hands of 4.7 million Texas high schoolers as well as being offered by publishers as a national ‘standard’ U.S. history book.   A friendly reminder that what goes in Texas matters a great deal elsewhere as well.  And it looks like what may be going in Texas is a pretty politically revised and abridged version of civil rights history.

So over at Change.org they have put out an action alert as this process comes closer to whitewashing U.S. History day by day…Action Alert at Change.org 

The TX State Board of Education has hired 6 “experts” to determine what will be in the books their schools use. Some of these “experts” are arguing that the state’s social studies and history textbooks are giving “too much attention” to some of the most prominent civil rights leaders in US History, namely Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall.

And here is the United Farm Workers link to their action alert asking Texans to contact board members before the state school board vote taking place on January 13th:

These new standards would eliminate all Hispanics since the conquest of Mexico in the early16th Century.Cesar Chavez, arguably the most important Hispanic civil rights leader of the 20th Century, is among the historical figures to be eliminated.

The results of this book adoption will certainly impact the next decade of high school instruction.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Texas Textbook Adoption and Erasing History

  1. June Stratton

    What can we, non Texans, do to influence the Textbook publishers to only let these insanse ideas be published in the TX. textbooks?
    As a former HS teacher of English, I expect the next move for TX is to force a return to King James version English. This is not a bad idea, but since very few of us speak that dialect, it might be an extremely difficult task for most. (Exp. with a Texas accent).

  2. Pingback: News updates on schooling homophobia from across blogland | Schooling Inequality