People For the American Way Foundation, CREDO, and Brave New Foundation today delivered over 131,000 petitions to the offices of McGraw-Hill in New York, urging the publisher to reject Texas’ right-wing curriculum standards and publish textbooks free of political ideology or bias.
In adopting its latest curriculum, the Texas Board of Education tossed aside recommendations of historians and educational professionals in favor of an overtly ideological approach to history. Materials were added to support disgraced Senator Joseph McCarthy and cast aspersions on the Civil Rights movement. Labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta was removed from the curriculum, while conservative icons like Phyllis Schlafly, Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation were added. Because Texas is one of the largest textbook markets in the country, its curriculum standards often are incorporated into textbooks distributed throughout the country.
“The Texas State Board of Education embarrassed itself when it passed curriculum standards that so blatantly twist American history and values,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Michael B. Keegan. “It’s bad enough that this dishonest history will be taught to millions of Texas schoolchildren; it cannot be allowed to become the norm throughout the country. Textbook publishers should be in the business of education, not politics.”
“Book publishers in America have long been fierce defenders of the first amendment and the freedom to read,” explained Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO Action. “We expect McGraw-Hill to continue this proud tradition and refuse to publish textbooks that are explicitly anti-science and mandate the teaching of a distorted view of U.S. history to our nation’s school children.”
“We need to urge textbook publishers to refrain from being part of the conservatives’ revisionist agenda; it has no place in our public schools. Printing these books impacts other states too, due to the size of Texas and their purchasing power. We need to let teachers and educators decide what goes into our history books, and keep politics out of our children’s education,” said Axel Caballero of Brave New Foundation.
Delivering the petitions, PFAW Foundation, CREDO and Brave New Foundation were joined by tenants of Kittay House, Jewish Home Lifecare’s independent senior-living apartment residence in the Bronx. Signatures from ninety-one Kittay seniors were among those delivered. Tenant Rhoda Kaufman says, “We are furious that the Texas Board of Education is attempting to re-write history. Even though we’re older, our voices still count and hope that our participation in the petition urges the publishers to reject controversial standards.”