1/19/2011 4:05 PM
The State Board of Education voted 9-6 to retain standards for textbooks in its operating rule. In 1995, the Texas Legislature severly restricted the ability of the board to reject books based on their content. In reaction to that law, the State Board of Education adopted an operating rule creating a procedure for the board to adopt a non-binding resolution expressing an opinion about a textbook. Included in that rule were its prior textbook standards that became non-binding as a result of the 1995 law. Board member Michael Soto (D-San Antonio) tried to remove the section of the board's operating rules that included both the textbook standards and a procedure to pass resolutions on textbooks.
The board rejected Soto's motion 9-6, with the board's four Democrats (Soto, Mary Helen Berlanga (Corpus Christi), Lawrence Allen (Houston), Mavis Knight (Dallas)) and two Republicans (Bob Craig of Lubbock and Thomas Ratliff of Mt. Pleasant) voting to strike the textbook standards, while the remaining board Republicans supported leaving them in place.
The board's conservative faction supported the textbook standards, noting that they reflect the views of most Texans. Ratliff and Soto argued the motion was about local control and removing the resolution language would show respect for the Legislature's 1995 decision.
Here are some of the textbook content standards Soto wanted to remove from the State Board of Education's rules:
"Instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively without editorial opinion or bias by the authors. Theories should be clearly distinguished from fact and presented in an objective educational manner.
Instructional materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, understanding of the essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for recognized authority, and respect for individual rights. The materials should not include selections or works that encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law ...
Instructional materials should not include blatantly offensive language or illustrations.
Instructional materials should treat divergent groups fairly without stereotyping and reflect the positive contributions of all individuals and groups to the American way of life. Illustrations and written materials should avoid bias toward any particular group or individual and present a wide range of goal choices. Particular care should be taken in the treatment of ethnic groups, issues related to the aging and aged, roles of men and women, the dignity of workers, and respect for the work ethic."
Soto did succeed in amending the optional textbook standards to state that When there is no clear consensus, books should present both points of view. (The prior rule did not have the 'no clear consensus' language.) Soto's original proposal suggested When there is no clear scholarly consensus, but Board member George Clayton (R-Richardson) proposed striking the word "Scholarly" from Soto's amendment and that motion carried.
2 comment(s) so far...
By Karl Priest on
3/30/2011 12:50 AM
The first parental uprising against the influx of liberalism into public schools asked that textbooks not “Demean, encourage skepticism, or foster disbelief in the institutions of the United States of America and in Western civilization.” The set of requested standards that sentence was in was opposed by liberals. We learned that the public schools cannot be redeemed and conservatives are wasting valuable time and money trying to do it. The complete set of requested standards can be found on pages 140141 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party available on Amazon or at www.insectman.us/testimony/protester-voices.htm.)
By John Melvin Dodd on
3/30/2011 12:50 AM
It is shameful that voters in my area elected Thomas Ratliff to the State Board of Education. I think they did this ignorantly; clearly not knowing what they were doing. His father, Bill Ratliff was state senator from this district and even served for a while as Lt. Governor after Rick Perry became governor when George W. Bush became President. I think this name recognition led to the election of Thomas. His father was involved in the shameful law of 1995 that stripped power from the State Board of Education. Here were RINO Republicans, joined by Democrats in the Legislature, who couldn't stand that Christian conservatives had control of the SBOE and wanted to strip them of power. It is time that our so-called Republican Legislature restore this power. Hopefully the voters will understand just who Ratliff is and will take him out of office in 2014.