Saturday, May 22, 2010

Texas social studies texts set the tone for publishers for the rest of the nation

The Texas State Board of Education, the largest purchaser of textbooks, including social studies books, adopted controversial standards, under the guidance of departing chairman Don McLeroy, a dentist and Christian fundamentalist.

One of the most controversial proposals was to rename the “slave trade route” up to the 19th century as the “Atlantic Triangular Route”. Another was to present America as essentially Christian in character (denying that complete separation of church and state was really intended) and to present the views of Jefferson Davis as equal to those of Abraham Lincoln. He also wanted to elevate the status of Senator Joseph McCarthy, responsible for so many purges in the 1950s. He would replace the word "imperialism" (a favorite buzzword of the Left in the 1970s) with expansionism, and emphasize groups like the Moral Majority in the 1980s.

Terry Moran has reported that Texas is one of two states that do not want to sign on to the idea of national standards for textbooks.

California has said that it will not buy texts according to the Texas standard, and digital publishing technology may be reducing the influence Texas has on what other states buy.

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