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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:01 AM

How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us

“What happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas when it comes to textbooks”

No matter where you live, if your children go to public schools, the textbooks they use were very possibly written under Texas influence. If they graduated with a reflexive suspicion of the concept of separation of church and state and an unexpected interest in the contributions of the National Rifle Association to American history, you know who to blame.

When it comes to meddling with school textbooks, Texas is both similar to other states and totally different. It’s hardly the only one that likes to fiddle around with the material its kids study in class. The difference is due to size—4.8 million textbook-reading schoolchildren as of 2011—and the peculiarities of its system of government, in which the State Board of Education is selected in elections that are practically devoid of voters, and wealthy donors can chip in unlimited amounts of money to help their favorites win.

Those favorites are not shrinking violets. In 2009, the nation watched in awe as the state board worked on approving a new science curriculum under the leadership of a chair who believed that “evolution is hooey.” In 2010, the subject was social studies and the teachers tasked with drawing up course guidelines were supposed to work in consultation with “experts” added on by the board, one of whom believed that the income tax was contrary to the word of God in the scriptures.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/how-texas-inflicts-bad-textbooks-on-us/?pagination=false

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us (Original post)
sasha031 Jan 2013 OP
longship Jan 2013 #1
jmowreader Jan 2013 #2
sasha031 Jan 2013 #4
jmowreader Jan 2013 #9
Tunkamerica Jan 2013 #8
jmowreader Jan 2013 #10
nyquil_man Jan 2013 #3
sasha031 Jan 2013 #5
jmowreader Jan 2013 #11
okaawhatever Jan 2013 #6
modrepub Jan 2013 #7
ck4829 Jan 2013 #13
ck4829 Jan 2013 #12
PoliticalBiker Jan 2013 #14

Response to sasha031 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:38 AM

1. And it is worse than that.

In the history standards, under McElroy, Texas expunged Thomas Jefferson from the enlightenment influence standards. He added that well known enlightenment figure, Thomas Aquinas (13th century!).

These people are fucking nuts.

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Response to sasha031 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:45 AM

2. The largest reason isn't in the OP

Texas is the only state that approves textbooks at the state level. The other 49 states give local school boards a modicum of control...but in Texas, if the state school board doesn't approve a book schools can't buy it.

Add to that the economics of printing, which state that it makes no fiscal sense to print a Texas Edition and a Rest of America Edition of a book (because there ain't a hell of a lot of money in the textbook business, and they're huge), and you wind up with one book--the one Texas likes.

Now, there may be salvation ahead: since a PDF version of a textbook incurs no expense after the designer is done with it, it is very possible that a non-Texas e-book version of a text could be created, if they can come up with a good DRM that keeps teachers from passing PDFs around online.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:51 AM

4. I was reading the comments of a woman who seems to know what she talking about

She says that Texas makes writes & publishes the textbooks for the country.

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Response to sasha031 (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:02 PM

9. Not quite, but almost

They rely on private companies for those things, but they prescribe what will be in the books.

This is not all that far off topic, but you know how the RWNJs like to scream about national standards in education? There are national standards, and almost all of them are set by fifteen people in Texas who are really pissed the feds won't let them put Bible passages in English books.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 05:10 AM

8. Kind of off-topic, but it's why NC

couldn't have any beer over 6% alcohol till a few years ago. It wasn't illegal, but it had to be labelled malt liquor if it had over 6% alcohol. No beer companies would print separate labels for NC so we couldn't get it.

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Response to Tunkamerica (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:18 PM

10. NC's liquor regulations have always been a joke

At least as late as 2009 - it's probably still there but that's the last time I was down this road - there was a non-self-service ABC store in Robeson County. You went to a counter and told the clerk what you wanted.

And in case you ever wondered why all ABC stores looked alike for so long...there used to be a wall blocking view of the walkway into the store. It was called a preacher wall because it was supposed to keep your preacher from seeing you buying liquor.

Now to the other side of the country: Idaho has state liquor stores. They are self supporting and turn their profits over to the state, but every time we run an article about the liquor control board we get six letters demanding privatization because they don't want their money spent buying liquor. If Carrie Nation were alive today she'd live in Idaho...she and Billy Sunday and the rest of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

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Response to sasha031 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:49 AM

3. Texas has been giving us bad things from schoolbook warehouses for decades.

Read that how you wish.

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Response to nyquil_man (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:54 AM

5. then my question would be why not give the contract to another state?

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Response to sasha031 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:35 PM

11. Oh boy

It's not a contract thing.

In most states schoolbooks are chosen by school districts, and the state just provides some money.

In Texas, the state board of education makes a list of approved texts. If the religious fanatics on the board, who are there because almost no one votes that line on the ballot and Pat Robertson decided seizing control of school boards was critical in his goal of Christianizing America, decide to put this line:

Condoms are not effective in the prevention of disease nor do they stop unintended pregnancy.

in health books, because you can't print a Texas edition and a non-Texas edition of a textbook every kid in America will be taught rubbers don't work. Within a year's time we'd have maternity cheerleading uniforms because no young man in his right mind would endure the embarrassment of buying rubbers, the logistics of hiding them from his parents or the loss of spontaniety and sensation that comes from wearing them during sex if they don't even work.

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Response to nyquil_man (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:28 AM

6. oohhhhh good one nt

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Response to sasha031 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:52 AM

7. My school district

can't afford to update their books all that often so not sure how much influence this will have. Going to e-books may give us more solutions to this predicament. It's really up to my kids teachers and local school board what my kids are taught and that will always change once they get out of school.

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Response to modrepub (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:46 PM

13. I remember some professors and teachers who never used books, used PowerPoint instead

That could work, along with printing out the presentation for everyone.

It just seems so surreal, yes you can change it once they get out of school, but having to say "You're right lil' Timmy, people DIDN'T ride dinosaurs to work even though your Texas made schoolbook includes it" seems so wrong on so many levels.

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Response to sasha031 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:41 PM

12. Here's a recent example of the right wing pseudoreligion being pushed on students

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Response to sasha031 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:04 PM

14. Now that we have identified the problem...

... how do we, as a nation, fix it?

If I'm reading this information correctly, Texass somehow manages to influence/determine/print textbooks for the rest of the country.
How does this happen? How does the Dept. of Education, in Washington DC, approve distribution of Texass textbooks on a national level?
My experience is that different schools have different books for the same or similar classes. I would be unreasonable for every teacher to be told to use the same book all over the country for 6th grade history or 8th grade economics.

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