State Board Will Cast A Preliminary Vote On New History Textbooks | KERA News

State Board Will Cast A Preliminary Vote On New History Textbooks

Nov 18, 2014

Five stories that have North Texas talking: the debate over new textbooks in Texas classrooms continues, how schools are coping with demographic changes, four photojournalists recount the Kennedy assassination, and more.

The Texas State Board of Education will have a preliminary vote today over which history and social studies textbooks will make it to classrooms statewide.

The 15-member board has more than 100 textbooks to consider, the Associated Press reports. Some academics and activists have criticized the books for exaggerating biblical figures on American democracy and downplaying the human role in climate change. On the other hand, some conservative experts say the books are too politically correct and ignore connections between radical Islam and modern terrorism.

Others have objected to outdated terminology the textbooks use to describe other religions. Manpreet Singh told The Texas Tribune she found at least 40 errors in the way the books covered the Sikh religion, saying the description of the religion as a blend of Hinduism and Islam is “absolutely false.”  

The board's 10 Republicans and five Democrats are expecting to hear more public testimony before they vote.

  • One in three Texas kids is either an immigrant or the child of immigrants, and that demographic shift has transformed the Grapevine-Colleyville school district. In the last decade, it has seen its overall student population shrink while the number of non-white students doubled. The number of students learning English has climbed 60 percent. In the second chapter of KERA’s Generation One series, Stella Chavez explores how the district is responding to the shift.
  • The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says the EPA’s new carbon rules would have a "significant impact" on operating the state’s electric grid. ERCOT released a study yesterday detailing that impact. The council says the new rules would retire thousands of megawatts of coal-fired power plants, which could make electricity more expensive and actually delay installing renewable energy sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new carbon emission requirements in June. Texas consumes more coal than any other state. [The Dallas Business Journal]
  • In the midst of the snow dusting North Texas received Sunday, The Dallas Arboretum also opened its newest Christmas exhibition. The 12 Days of Christmas features 25-foot-tall gazebos representing each day of the carol. The team behind the exhibit also creates the sets and costumes for The Dallas Opera. KERA’s Jerome Weeks got a behind-the-scenes look at the gazebos, which are inspired by the Victorian era. The exhibit will be open through Jan. 6. Get tickets here.
  • For something a little warmer, The Sixth Floor Museum will present “Dallas Times Herald 1963: Photographers Remember the Kennedy Assassination.” Four photojournalists who worked for the Dallas Times Herald and captured John F. Kennedy’s visit Dallas will be speaking at the museum tonight. They will share their first-hand accounts from behind the lens. The event starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25.