Majority of Texas Social Studies Textbooks Approved Despite Controversy

By Liana Loewus — November 21, 2014 1 min read
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Nearly all of the social studies textbooks that were being considered by the Texas board of education—and causing an uproar from both conservative- and liberal-leaning advocacy groups—have been sanctioned for use next school year.

Of the 96 books being reviewed, 89 were approved by the Republican-controlled board this afternoon, reports the Associated Press. Six books were defeated, and one publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, withdrew a government text.

As I wrote yesterday, groups from both sides of the political spectrum argued against the textbooks’ approval, alleging they contained distortions. The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund said some books exaggerated Moses’ influence on the founding of the United States. Truth in Texas Textbooks claimed the books were too pro-Islam.

The National Center for Science Education, which took issue with the way textbooks by Pearson and McGraw-Hill presented climate change, is reporting that those publishers revised their books “to eliminate misrepresentations of climate science.” Publishers were allowed to submit modifications to their texts right up until the vote.

This is the first vote on social studies textbooks in Texas, which serves 5 million public school students, since 2002.

State board of education members Geraldine Miller and Marty Rowley talk during hearings Nov. 21 in Austin regarding the adoption of new textbooks. —Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman/AP

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.