Social Studies Textbook Review in Tennessee and Texas

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The following was written by Roy White, Chapter Coordinator for ACT! for America in San Antonio, Bexar, and Kendall:

We all know of plenty of examples of the bias in social studies textbooks revealed by various groups and individuals. Concerned Tennessee citizens formed a group called Textbook Advocates that conducted reviews of over 50 textbooks that can be found here. Many of those errors involved Islam to include incomplete information on Muhammad, overstating Islam’s influence and simple disparity in word/sentence count on discussions of Islam versus other religions. Their findings are not surprising to readers of Citizen Warrior and others who follow this topic.

The cleverly named, The Textbook Tattler was published to provide citizens with a synopsis of the typical errors found. It is likely these same errors are found in many of the textbooks found in states around the country. Tennessee’s efforts resulted in the current methodology of textbook selection to be under review and will most likely be replaced in the next legislative session. Their landmark success has inspired others to follow their lead including a group in Texas.

In early 2014 Texas begins the process of reviewing Social Studies textbooks that will be used for the 2015-16 school year. A group called “Truth in Texas Textbooks” or “Triple T” have begun recruiting volunteers from inside of Texas and outside who would be willing to help review the Social Studies textbooks that will be submitted by publishers.

Over 48 million textbooks are sold in Texas alone! This is a huge contract for publishers. Estimates range from 50-80% of school districts in the nation choose the same textbooks as those used in Texas schools. Publishers know, what sells in Texas will lead to millions of dollars in other states!

The purpose of TTT is simple, to provide Social Studies textbooks that are truthful and factual that meet the Texas Education Knowledge Standards (TEKS) as defined here. Fortunately Texas has put in place a well-defined set of standards that were recently updated with this resolution on eliminating the pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias found in the current social studies textbooks.

TTT will not simply focus on eliminating this bias but many other “PC” related themes that are so often found in textbooks today. We are not affiliated with any other NPO or national organization but are independent and have reached out to groups and individuals around the country (including Tennessee) for volunteers who are willing to help us.

The long-term goal would be to have one site, such as www.textbookadvocates.com be the single depository of these textbook reviews being done around the country so teachers, parents, advocates can have a single one stop shopping place to go and see a consolidated list of reviews of textbooks.

Publishers get away with their PC tainted textbooks because in the past groups around the country didn’t talk to each other or communicate their findings. Building on what Tennessee has done Texas wishes to continue this movement to put these reviews, along with others, in the public domain at a single website that will give information to everyone who is interested.

Anti-smokers advocacy groups weren’t effective until they banded together against the tobacco companies and shared the data from all their findings. TTT wishes to take the same approach.

The most effective method for having an impact on your children’s textbooks may very well lie on not focusing on your own local school or state but helping Texas adopt the most accurate and factual textbooks which will in turn be likely to show up in your own school district. Additionally you can go through a process with other like-minded individuals who can help you learn the process for conducting reviews.

Collaborative online project management tools, conference calls, use of webinars and other methods will be used to coordinate the efforts of those interested in volunteering. It doesn't matter where you live, you can help Texas and in turn help millions of other children around the country by joining TTT and volunteering. Please share this with teachers, active and retired who are tired of teaching inaccurate or misleading information.

For those interested in serving on the TTT review team, please email truthintexastextbooks@gmail.com and get on the mailing list. You will be asked to complete a survey of interest, experience and level of commitment to the effort. TTT will conduct training beginning in early 2014 to provide reviewers with materials and templates of the best practices found among those experts who review textbooks. If you want to stop the spread of PC myths disguised as facts in social studies textbooks and pro-Islamic/anti-Judeo-Christian biases then please join the TTT team.

Recruiting for experts in the field of US government, history, world history, civics, constitutional law, world history, geography are some of the specific knowledge sets that are needed. Advanced degrees or self-taught are the same to TTT; your knowledge and effort in this endeavor will benefit millions of children for years to come.
______________________

Roy White, Chapter Coordinator
ACT! for America San Antonio, Bexar, Kendall
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/actbexar
Twitter: @ACTBexar

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