Norma Gabler, who with her husband, Mel, worked more than four decades scrutinizing school textbooks in Texas, died July 22 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was 84.
Beginning in the 1960s, the Gablers challenged factual errors and what they deemed to be anti-Christian and anti-family content in texts.
In 1980, for example, the couple objected to publishers’ failure to portray women in domestic roles despite statistics showing that half of mothers still worked only inside the home at that time.
They founded a nonprofit organization devoted to that work, Educational Research Analysts, based in Longview, Texas, which continues under the leadership of Neal Frey. (“Reading From the Right,” Sept. 21, 2005.)
Their reviews of schoolbooks became required reading among publishers and state school board members, and their recommendations have shaped academic materials nationwide because Texas’ hefty share of the market makes publishers quick to cater to its requirements.
The Gablers often drew criticism for their efforts to infuse their conservative values into textbooks.
Mel Gabler died in 2004.
A version of this article appeared in the August 15, 2007 edition of Education Week