Group Releases Study Detailing Problems With 2015 Social Studies Textbooks | Texas Public Radio

Group Releases Study Detailing Problems With 2015 Social Studies Textbooks

Sep 10, 2014

Credit Flickr user Corey Seeman (cseeman) / cc

The Texas Freedom Network-released study shows the content in some of social studies textbook submitted to the Texas State Board of Education is deeply flawed and biased. The study points to problems with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills that publishers use as an outline.

The Texas Freedom Network’s Kathy Miller said their team of university professors found serious distortions of history on topics ranging from religion and democracy to free enterprise and affirmative action, which she said can be traced back to the social studies standards set by the SBOE in 2010.

“The requirement that publishers produce books based on the deeply flawed and politicized curriculum standards is the overarching problem with the materials up for adoption,” Miller said.

Southern Methodist University history professor Edward Countryman headed up the study and cited some errors that were based on the TEKS.

“One major TEKS theme is the benefits of free enterprise around the globe and across all time." Countryman said. "Citing unnamed 'historians', the Houghton Mifflin text describes the Inca civilization before the Spaniards as a 'welfare-state with huge bureaucracy' and suggested this is one of the reasons the civilization fell."

Countryman said the TEKS also calls for textbooks to list slavery as one of the last reasons for the U.S. Civil War.

But SBOE member David Bradley defended the standards used to formulate next year’s social studies textbooks.

“They are a good thing because conservatives on the board insisted on including things like the inclusion of American exceptionalism, founding fathers and capitalism," Bradley said.

The state board will take up public comment on the issue at their September 16 hearing. A final vote on which textbooks get adopted happens in November.