Texas Textbook Showdown BeginsMay 18, 2010 - 10:10 AM | by: Maggie Kerkman
Texas School Board members are meeting in Austin this week for what’s sure to be a showdown over the curriculum for social studies textbooks.
Conservative board members have moved to reverse what some see as liberal bias in the classroom and in textbooks. Critics charge the interim changes whitewash American history and downplay the role of African-Americans, Latinos and women.
Why should you care?
Texas is such a huge purchaser of textbooks that often other states will buy books that were originally created for Texas standards. Those standards are revised for each subject about every 10 years.
At issue this week is the social studies standards for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Originally a committee of teachers and community members came up with revisions to the curriculum. Those revisions went through what’s called a “first reading” in January. A block of eight conservative board members found fault with the preliminary revisions and made changes.
More revisions were made during the “second reading” last March. Then, Texas board members voted 10-5 to adopt changes in line with social conservative views. Some liberal board members stormed out of the meeting after they felt their concerns weren’t being addressed.
Now it’s down to the final vote this week.
Board members are meeting beginning Tuesday at 1pm CST, but they won’t pick up the social studies curriculum till Wednesday at 9am CST.
That’s when the public will be able to talk directly to board members about the draft revisions that came out of the March meetings.
So far, 206 people have signed up to speak. Each will have three minutes to make their views known.
The Texas Board of Education has already been receiving calls and emails from the public about the revisions for the past month.
You can see a summary of the first three weeks of public opinion to the board. click here
The issue is complex.
Conservatives on the board say the curriculum they received in January and March was way out of whack. Now liberal board members are saying the standards have ticked too far to the other side.
**FOX News will have gavel to gavel coverage of the meetings. Check back for updates. **