Sunday, February 02, 2014

Texas State Board of Education Amends Textbook Review Rules To Lessen Influence of Social Conservatives

AP reports that on Friday, the 15-member Texas State Board of Education unanimously adopted new rules governing the citizen review panels that review proposed textbooks.  The rule changes are likely to lessen the influence of social conservatives who in recent years have influenced the coverage of topics such as evolution, climate change and the role of religion in American history.  The new rules give priority to teachers and professors to serve on the textbook review panels in their areas of expertise. They also allow the state board to appoint outside experts to check the objections raised by review panels. The new rules require that each textbook be reviewed by at least two panel members, require panels to submit majority and minority reports, and limit board of education contact with panel members to prevent pressure on panels. Earlier this week the board defeated a proposal that would have allowed removal of review panel members for inappropriate behavior. Conservative State Board of Education member David Bradley complained: "liberals are really trying to make it difficult for Christians and conservatives to have a voice in public education."