Education Letter to the Editor

Textbook Case

April 14, 2006 1 min read

Just finished reading the exposé on supposed textbook reviewer Neal Frey [“Chapter & Verse,” January/February]. As someone who regards Mel Gabler as a hero and mentor, Frey echoed Gabler’s beliefs [about the] “constitutional limits on federal power” and the “sanctity of state and local rights” when [Frey] described why he liked his old cars. Evidently, his car does not need emissions testing due to its age. He said he liked that because “the government doesn’t regulate it.”

However, when confronted with the possibility of losing his “influence” with the Texas Board of Education if books were allowed to be ordered at the local level, he hypocritically responded by calling that proposal “profoundly wrong headed” and added that “the current process ensures government accountability.”

Clearly, when religious, antigovernment conservatives with self-imposed importance are confronted with losing their income, they suddenly have high praise for the government. Having textbooks selected at the local level should be a conservative’s dream. Parents and school board members of a community could then order books they select to fit the state or federal standards. That is dangerous to the religious right because they know common sense would win out in that scenario. Common sense and independent thinking are against everything they stand for.

It is hard to say whether Frey is more concerned with losing his influence or losing his “grants”—surely a “liberal” undertaking. Maybe he could then go out and make an honest living.

Also, his patsy on the board, Terri Leo, stated that Frey’s comments are “treasured” by publishers. If that is true, then why did she have to present his proposed changes to the publishers? [Leo] called him a “real intellectual.” That description is profoundly wrongheaded.

Andy Morales

Rio Vista Elementary School

Tucson, Arizona