California Advances Anti-Texas Textbook Bill

The national backlash against the Texas State Board of Education‘s politicization of history and social studies curriculum standards is gathering steam. Yesterday a California Senate committee approved a bill requiring that education officials report to legislators and the state’s education secretary any changes influenced by the Texas standards when they review textbook content.

California Sen. Leland Yee,  a Democrat who represents part of the San Francisco Bay Area, drafted the bill. In a press release from his office yesterday, Yee said:

“While some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes. The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation’s diverse history. Today, California spoke with a bipartisan voice that our kids should be provided an education based on facts and that embraces our multicultural nation.”

Californians and other non-Texans are increasingly worried that textbooks written for the Texas market will make it into their states’ classrooms. That’s because publishers often write their textbooks to meet curriculum standards in Texas — which has a huge textbook market and a centralized adoption process — and then sell those textbooks to schools across the country.

At what point will Texas lawmakers finally realize that the State Board of Education is undermining the state’s reputation — politically, educationally and in the business world — across the country?

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10 Comments

  1. R.A. Stewart
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    “At what point will Texas lawmakers finally realize that the State Board of Education is undermining the state’s reputation — politically, educationally and in the business world — across the country?”

    I really don’t think Texas lawmakers care about that. I’m not being snarky to the author, I honestly don’t think they care, any more than the more radical elements of the government of Iran care about their reputation in the West. (And for essentially the same reason — a radical fundamentalist is a radical fundamentalist, regardless of what religion they cloak themselves in.)

    If the original Anonymous wants to get that education, he (she?) had better move out of Texas.

  2. Cytocop
    Posted April 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Whoa, my pc is playing tricks on me again. WTF? Above, where it says Anonymous posted a message and then the writer is addressing Anonymous, that was ME who wrote that posting.

  3. jan cady
    Posted April 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Makes me prouder to be a Californian. Wasn’t sure we had it in us.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted April 25, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Anonymous: In addition to learning grammar you should learn proper punctuation, the U.S. Constitution, and American history as well. While you’re at it, learn about medieval and Renaissance Europe and its centuries of struggle for freedom of religion versus theocracy. Compare that to the contemporary Islamic Republic of Iran and ask yourself if you wish to see America as Iran’s Christian counterpart. Maybe you do, but remember: be careful what you wish for. YOUR interpretation of Christianity may not be acceptable to the Christianity of the Christian Theocrats you may wish to see in power.

    In reference to Ms. Bell-Metereau’s posting, there is no inherent correlation between ‘democracy’ and ‘capitalism’ or a ‘free market.’ China has a free market system or capitalism to a certain extent but does not have democracy. Medieval Europe (especially Venice) had free market-style capitalism as early as the 14th century. But they did not get democracy for another 600 years. Need I say more? That the radical conservatives want to get rid of the word ‘democracy’ may be all we need to know about them. They probably mean EXACTLY what they’re saying.

  5. Lurker111
    Posted April 24, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    “Anonymous, get an education.”

    And a grammar. (That’s a textbook.)

  6. Posted April 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    People need to be specific when they discuss the problems with the board’s suggested revisions to the review committee’s social studies curriculum. While a number of problems exist, a few that stand out the most clearly are the elimination of Oscar Romero, the exclusion of Thomas Jefferson as an Enlightenment thinker, and censorship of the terms “democracy” and “capitalism.” The board suggests substituting Calvin, constitutional republic, and free market, but these are not at all equivalent. While these items (Calvin, constitutional republic, and free market) may be included as well, the board should not eliminate such fundamental parts of the curriculum as Romero’s contributions, Jefferson’s influence on the Enlightenment, the umbrella concept of “democracy,” and the term “capitalism.” Even people in their own party are mystified by such peculiar suggestions.

    The current board decides on suggested curriculum, but the new board elected in November will determine the choice of textbooks. Concerned citizens should vote carefully, basing their decisions on candidates’ actual qualifications.

    Rebecca Bell-Metereau
    Candidate for State Board of Education District 5

  7. Anonymous
    Posted April 23, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Anonymous, get an education.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted April 23, 2010 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    what you guys are doing is massacring the first amendment and manipulating histories to your own ideologies that are not fact, but all ideals. you will not rewrite our history, or our constitution, i know you hate freedom of will and choice,

  9. Charles
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    As said in a previous post, my state is a red state, and it has decided to stand with California. Nearly the whole nation will be on board soon. The far right faction on the Texas SBOE is seeing its dreams shattered. They had hoped to start some sort of Christian fundamentalist revolution on the sly in Texas and fuse it with the public schools. They then hoped to export their little “religious sect” revolution to the other 49 states through textbooks super-charged with revisionist science, revisionist social studies, and distorted Texas curriculum standards.

    The textbook companies are getting an ear-full from private citizens and state education officials. Texas may buy a lot of textbooks, but it is only 25,000,000 people out of 300,000,000 Americans. With numbers like that, I would give Texas a choice if I ran a textbook company. “By a California textbook—or print your own. We’re outa here!!!”

  10. Amie
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    This is embarrassing and sad.

    A woman in San Antonio who owns her own business in Medical research is worried about the direction Texas is headed. She has had offers to move her company to other states and she is tempted because she feels the conservative right will destroy the workforce she might hire in the future and restrict medical advances with bad legislation.
    Does Texas realize that if we want to be a competitive state and a leader in the future of America’s economic development we have to first educated our children to be the very best and we have to vote leaders to office that do not enforce an agenda that the majority of Texans do not agree with. We must be pro active in fighting with our votes.

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