Published On: Wed, Dec 3rd, 2014

Texas approves disputed textbooks

After several delays and much dispute, the Texas State Board of Education approved new social studies textbooks  with a 9-5 vote, divided along party lines. over the last several months, there has been much debate and disagreement over  topics like climate change, violence in Islam, and the influence of Moses on American democracy.
Moses and his influence on government was a disputed topic to approve new textbooks

Moses and his influence on government was a disputed topic to approve new textbooks

The disputed curriculum sets new standards for U.S. history and other social studies materials—including some 89 textbooks, workbooks, and other study resources—reflecting a more conservative tone than past materials. 

“I think we’ve corrected the imbalance we’ve had in the past and now have our curriculum headed straight down the middle,” Don McLeroy, one of seven social conservatives on the board, told The Dallas Morning News. “I’m very pleased with what we’ve accomplished.”
“The board has made these standards political and had little academic discussion about what students need to learn,” board member Mavis Knight, a Democrat, told The Dallas Morning News. “I am ashamed of what we have done to the students and teachers of this state.”
Corrections came in until the last minute, causing some board members to complain they didn’t have time to adequately review all the changes amidst the whirlwind of late amendments. 
One major publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, added to the controversy by withdrawing a proposed high school textbook from consideration amid ongoing negotiations, saying in a statement the book was for a “national” program and failed to meet the entirety of the Texas standards.
Materials offered by another publisher, Worldview Software, were later rejected by the board due to concerns over factual accuracy.
This vote not only impacted future textbooks and achievement tests in all Texas schools for the next decade, but also spotlighted the state’s role as a heavyweight gatekeeper in the textbook market. Texas standards often become the standard in other states, as national publishers generally market their materials to the state of about five million students.
Many critics pointed to the impact of Moses, the Old Testament leader and his influence on systems of law. This will now mentioned explicitly in Texas learning standards, alongside John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and William Blackstone in a list of thinkers who influenced the founding fathers. “Moses was not a founding father. However, I believe he did influence our founding fathers,” Ken Mercer, a Republican board member, told NPR. 
Thomas Jefferson’s name fwas restored to the list of political philosophers studied in world history and requiring U.S. history students to learn about leading conservative individuals and groups from the 1980s and 1990s. Board members also approved a stipulation encouraging high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation.
Social conservative and board member Cynthia Dunbar described America as a “Christian land governed by Christian principles” in an invocation opening Friday’s board meeting. “I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses,” she said.
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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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