Study Up For 'Think': Textbook Truths | KERA News

Study Up For 'Think': Textbook Truths

Oct 6, 2014

Does an education heavy on biases compromise the learning health of a classroom? The Texas State Board of Education will vote on new social studies textbooks, a first since 2002, in November. A group of professionals studied the material the proposed books will have and found numerous inaccuracies and opinions.  Professors David Brockman, religious studies scholar, and Kathleen Wellman, history intellectual,  join Krys Boyd in the textbook conversation today at 1 p.m.

As long as the minimum standards set by the state are satisfied for a textbook, publishers can conjecture and augment content, says Thomas Ratliff, vice chair of the Texas State Board of Education, in an interview with RT America.

"If it's not a factual error and if it covers the Texas standards, there's nothing we can really do," Ratliff says concerning the limited jurisdiction the board can exercise.

Ten scholars found to-be texts improper in a range of areas from substantial Christian inclination to the whitewashing of white ethnocentrism, according to The Washington Post's thorough summary of the report.

"Ideas promoted in various proposed textbooks include the notion that Moses and Solomon inspired American democracy, that in the era of segregation only 'sometimes' were schools for black children 'lower in quality' and that Jews view Jesus Christ as an important prophet," the Post writes.

In 2010, the board was urged to change content requirements of textbooks. What was approved is widely considered "distorted history," it says.

In a state hearing with the board earlier this month, hundreds of citizens of varying viewpoints issued complaints with the draft text, Mother Jones reports.

"During the all-day proceedings, activists and historians pointed out numerous factual errors and complained that the books promoted tea party ideology while mocking affirmative action and downplaying the science linking human activity to climate change," it writes.

The Texas Freedom Network, the organization who championed the review of the proposed textbooks, offers an online petition "for accurate textbooks."