In the face of numerous absurd statements in a recently published history book, the State Board of Education – which authorized the ridiculed textbook – has rejected a proposal to have people who might actually know something about history review textbooks for accuracy. The 8-7 vote against the proposal at least indicates that not every member of the Board is a Tea Party hack. But it is clear, that the Board functions as a wing of the Tea Party and is attempting to indoctrinate Texas students with conservative ideology at the expense of actual facts. The Trailblazer Blog of the Dallas Morning News has more.
State Board of Education members on Wednesday narrowly rejected a plan to create a group of state university professors to scour Texas schoolchildren’s textbooks for factual errors.
The vote against was 8-7, with all the board’s Republicans except two opposing the measure.
The push for more experts to be involved came after more than a year of controversy over board-sanctioned books’ coverage of global warming, descriptions of Islamic history and terrorism and handling of the Civil War and the importance of Moses and the Ten Commandments to the founding fathers.
A tipping point to add more fact checking may have come last month. A suburban Houston mom’s alert that a newly approved geography text described African slaves forcibly brought to North America as “workers” set off a national furor.
At issue is whether the board should continue to rely on publishers and the public to flag errors. Currently, citizen panels nominated by the board have a narrower mission – to determine whether a book fits into Texas’ curriculum standards. Mostly, current and retired teachers sit on the panels.
Board vice chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, offered the backstop panel of university professors as an amendment to a proposed overhaul of textbook approval procedures. Under his proposal, the board could set up a new panel drawn “solely from Texas institutions of higher education” to check the books for errors.
“I know that people are concerned about pointy headed liberals in the ivory tower making our process … worse,” he said. “Why wouldn’t we reach out to them and say let’s make sure these books are as factually accurate as possible?”