Texas Social Studies Textbooks – Victory for America’s Students-by Donna Garner
The Texas State Board of Education voted 10 to 5 today to adopt a list of much-improved Social Studies textbooks (*i.e., instructional materials). All five Democrats voted against adopting the list.
As stated by Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values, “Today, textbook publishers rejected efforts by opponents of religious freedom and our nation’s religious heritage and refused to eliminate references to Moses, his writings in the Ten Commandments, Judeo-Christian principles and their impact on American law, government and its founding.”
The SBOE members praised the majority of the publishers for being willing to correct factual errors and for taking into consideration the numerous comments submitted by the public.
SBOE members also praised the quality and the quantity of input they received from the public concerning the social studies IM’s. The SBOE members received over 1,500 e-mails from the public regarding the Social Studies adoptions, and large numbers of private citizens testified at the public hearings.
SBOE Member David Bradley moved (and the motion carried) that two publishers’ submissions be severed from the list for separate consideration.
In the first severed vote, all six submissions from Worldview Software were excluded from the SBOE approved list because WS’s responses indicated an unwillingness to change their IM’s in response to public comments (such as those provided by Truth in Texas Textbooks).
In the second severed vote, the SBOE voted 9 to 6 to keep Discovery World Cultures (Grade 6 – digitized) on the list even though there were concerns voiced by some SBOE members and many in the public about Discovery’s questionable descriptions of Islam.
(Before the SBOE meeting today, Holt McDougal (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) requested that its submission of United States Government Principles and Practice be removed from the list.)
In voting for or against instructional materials to be placed on the SBOE-approved list, SBOE members are to take into consideration whether or not (1) the IM’s cover at least 50% of the Texas curriculum standards (TEKS), (2) the IM’s are properly bound, (3) the IM’s are error free, and (4) according to TEC 28.002(1)(D) and TAC 66.66(b), they must emphasize patriotism, respect for democratic values, and an emphasis on the free enterprise system and its benefits,
Because SBOE members in Texas are elected by their constituents, the Board members are also free to vote based upon their own judgment about the content of the IM’s (e.g., biases, omissions, half-truths).
The SBOE’s vote today on the approved Social Studies list was based upon all responses submitted by publishers to the Texas Education Agency by 5:00 P. M. on Thursday, 11.20.14.
The SBOE received all submissions except for Worldview’s by 12:00 Noon yesterday and had almost 24 hours to read through them before taking the final vote today.
Publishers are free to make any other voluntary changes to their submissions before the SBOE’s Feb. 11 – 13, 2015 meeting, and those changes must be sent to the Texas Education Agency on or before 5:00 P. M. on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.
It is possible that Worldview could resubmit its IM’s for consideration at the Feb. 2015 SBOE meeting, but the Dec. 1, 2014 list of SBOE-approved IM’s sent to all school districts in Texas will not contain Worldview.
For those publishers who are on the final SBOE-approved list after the Feb. 13, 2015 SBOE meeting, their final social studies products containing the SBOE-required corrections are due for distribution to school districts by May 1, 2015.
Publishers will be charged a penalty for each SBOE-required correction that is left in their IM’s after May 1, 2015.
*Under the Texas Education Code, IM’s (instructional materials) include books, supplementary materials, workbooks, computer software, DVD’s, CD-ROM’s, computer courseware, on-line services, electronic media, and electronic instructional materials available for download from the Internet.