This fall, the State Board of Education (SBOE) is reviewing new social studies books for the first time since 2002. Some of the textbooks they are considering are egregiously inaccurate, politically biased and frankly alarming, according to a report from the Texas Freedom Network (TFN).
The evaluation of these texts, conducted by ten university scholars, found that the offenses include overplaying Judeo-Christian influence, undermining the separation of church and state, downplaying segregation, portraying Muslims negatively, glossing over Christian conquests, and ignoring Native Americans and the LGBT community.
Depending on which textbooks are approved, the 4.8 million students in Texas may be led to believe:
- “The roots of democratic government” can be found in the Old Testament, and Moses is an inspiration for the writing of the Constitution (having contributed that “a nation needs a written code of behavior”)
- The driving issue of the Civil War was “states’ rights,” rather than slavery
- “Much of the violence you read or hear about in the Middle East is related to a jihad”
- All Hindus are vegetarians
- Space aliens would qualify for affirmative action
- “South of the Sahara Desert most of the people before the Age of Explorations were black Africans of the Negro race“
- Native Americans “regularly launched merciless attacks against the colonists”
- The gay rights movement of the 1960s was the byproduct of a society “spinning out of control”
- “Sometimes” all-black schools were lower in quality under segregation
Many of these errors are attributed to controversial standards that the SBOE adopted in 2010, which are so conservative that they are considered a “politicized distortion of history” filled with “misrepresentations at every turn” even by fellow conservatives. They actually go so far as to call for showing McCarthyism in a softer light.
“In all fairness, it’s clear that the publishers struggled with these flawed standards and still managed to do a good job in some areas,” said TFN Education Fund President Kathy Miller. “On the other hand, a number of textbook passages essentially reflect the ideological beliefs of politicians on the state board rather than sound scholarship and factual history.”
The SBOE will be voting on these proposed social studies books for Texas public schools in November.