Texas Approved Disputed History Textbooks

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(Newswire.net — November 23, 2014)  — Austin, Texas — More than five million public school students will begin using next fall 89 approved history textbooks and software packages, after a several months of outcry over lessons that some academics say exaggerate the influence of Moses in American democracy and negatively portray Muslims.

After defeating six and seeing a top publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt withdraw a seventh book, Texas’ State Board of Education has approved on Friday approved 89 books and classroom software packages

“I’m comfortable enough that these books have been reviewed by many, many people,” said Thomas Ratliff, a Republican and the Board’s vice chairperson after some academics and activists asked the Board to delay the vote and better check the textbooks.

“They are not perfect. They never will be,” Ratliff said, as some worried that the textbooks were too sympathetic to Islam or played down the achievements of President Ronald Reagan.

One of the nation’s largest educational publishers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, decided on Friday to withdraw a proposed high school book, “United States Government: Principles in Practice,” which included a total of five textbook and software products. They explained the book absolutely follows national educational program, however, Texas has different academic standards and it has influence because it’s a large state.

Bitter discussions between Republicans and Democrats over what is taught in Texas classrooms have for years attracted national attention, as Republicans on the board approved 2010 standards including topics like influence of the Moses on systems of law.

“I think it’s a disservice to the students when we have a particular bent in which we present things to them,” said Mavis Knight, a Democratic member from Dallas, explaining why she could not support books adhering to the 2010 academic standards.

Kathy Miller, president of a left-leaning group the Texas Freedom Network said that the process the State Board of Education uses to adopt textbooks is a fake.

“This board adopted textbooks with numerous late changes that the public had little opportunity to review and comment on and that even board members themselves admitted they had not read,” Miller said criticizing Texas’ State Board of Education.