Urge major textbook publishers not to publish and distribute, nationally, textbooks that conform to the controversial standards of one state.
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) traditionally has tremendous power in determining the content of textbooks not only for Texas students but for students across the U.S. Texas reviews and adapts textbook standards for the major subjects every six years, and because of the size of the state's market, textbook publishers often print books consistent with the Texas standards. Add to that the facts that the state with the largest textbook market, California, will not be purchasing new books until 2014 because of budget cuts, and right-wing politicians who dominate the SBOE just passed new textbook standards that rewrite history according to a definitively right-wing world view, and we have a big problem.
Former Clinton White House Science Adviser Jeff Schweitzer summed up the revisions well, noting that the new standards:
- Question the separation of church and state under the false premise that we are a Christian nation.
- Relabel the United States a "constitutional republic" instead of a democracy (think the names of our two major political parties).
- Remove the New Deal from a timeline of significant historical events, because Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts were socialistic.
- Describe Reagan's invasion of Granada in 1983 as a "rescue" and praises Reagan for his "role in restoring national confidence, such as Reagonomics and Peace with Strength." (No mention of Iran-Contra.)
- Note Nixon's "role in normalizing relations with China and the policy of détente," but don't mention Watergate.
A picture of a business woman holding a briefcase was even pulled and replaced with a mother baking a cake. And while an attempt to remove Thomas Jefferson from a major part of the curriculum (presumably because of his liberal views on government and religion) failed, labor leader, civil rights icon (and PFAW board member) Dolores Huerta was removed along with others who did not conform to the Far Right's narrow ideals.
There were many more changes that simply cannot be allowed to be printed in textbooks to be used by students nationwide.
Take action to make sure Texas' controversial standards do not impact the education of students in other states.
To Whom It May Concern:
Textbook publishers have traditionally used content which conforms disproportionately to the textbook and curriculum standards of one state: Texas. The Texas State Board of Education is currently a political body dominated by ideological extremists who are seeking to rewrite history and use social studies textbooks to advance a political agenda. Textbooks should be prepared by those with substantive subject matter expertise and not to promote a particular political worldview.
No state's market should dictate the textbook content for the nation as a whole, and that is particularly feasible now due to recent advances in printing and publishing technologies.
We, the undersigned, therefore urge your company to publish textbooks free of political or ideological bias and to reject any controversial Texas-required content in the publishing and distribution of textbooks for other states.