Texas Approves Controversial History Textbooks
The Texas State Board of Education has approved a controversial history textbook that academics say over exaggerates Moses' influence on American Democracy and portrays Muslims in a negative light.
Much criticism surrounded the proposed textbooks considered for the new school year. Some on the board declined some books over what they felt to be the downplaying of President Regan's accomplishments and being too sympathetic to Islam. The books at the center of the biggest controversy stemmed from a 2010 curriculum change which saw an emphasis on conservative ideals, such as talking up Moses' influence on the founding fathers and creation of American government, and the praising the free-market system. The curriculum change was designed to counter perceived liberal biases in classroom texts, and the new texts will be used for at least a decade.
The new books passed with a 10-5 vote, a vote that some wanted delayed to allow the public and board members a chance to review last-minute changes. Commenting on the request for a delay, Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff said,
I’m comfortable enough that these books have been reviewed by many, many people. They are not perfect. They never will be.
The conservative curriculum measures and newly-approved texts have received much criticism from Democratic board members and Liberal education groups. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, expressed her dissatisfaction of the Board's vote,
What we saw today shows very clearly that the process the State Board of Education uses to adopt textbooks is a sham. This board adopted textbooks with numerous late changes that the public had little opportunity to review and comment on and that even board members themselves admitted they had not read.