Sunday, April 22, 2012

Has the Texas State Board of Education Become Irrelevant?

This article in the Austin American-Statesman makes for interesting reading. It seems that the recently passed SB 6, a bill that removed any control that the state school board had over the selection of textbooks and other instructional materials, has transformed the board into an irrelevant body.

Prior to SB 6, the school board voted to include, or not to include, instructional materials on a list of acceptable materials which local districts were required to consult during book adoptions. In years past, this has allowed conservatives on the board inject their own political agendas into what gets included in textbooks, or what doesn’t.

That’s OK, some board members say, they still get to vote on curriculum standards. It’s just now what appears on the state curriculum does not dictate what appears in textbooks as in years past. In short, the school board can say whatever they want, do whatever they want, and no one, particularly book publishers, has to listen to them.

It’s about time. The Texas state school board has been having their way with publishers, and the minds of Texas’ millions of school children for years now. What they were doing was nothing less than shameful. Using the state education system to advance their own political views – some of them not very mainstream views – was a clear abuse of authority.
If you abuse it, you lose it.

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