The Texas textbook massacre

Given the influence of the Texas textbook selection process on textbooks available for schools nationwide, the decision of the Texas board to adopt even-nuttier-than-usual standards, on a straight party-line vote has national importance.

If I were Barack Obama, worried about mobilizing the pointy-headed part of the base for November – and especially the schoolteachers, some of whom probably aren’t happy about Arne Duncan’s education-reform plans – I’d think hard about speaking out on this, or at least having Duncan and John Holdren do so. People who like the idea of textbooks that eulogize Stonewall Jackson and ignore Thomas Jefferson, and who don’t want their children to know that the Framers opposed the establishment of religion – aren’t likely to be potential Democratic voters anyway.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

6 thoughts on “The Texas textbook massacre”

  1. Can I worry more about schools and layoffs in my home town? All the young up and coming teachers getting pink slips, librarians, and all.

  2. Much as I'd love to hear him proclaim 'Alright, that's enough — summon the Obamunist Disembowel-o-trons!' I think there's a pretty substantial downside from Presidential involvement here. These issues are going to have to be fought out locally, and if your school district buys Texas approved texts, you have to make sure that the teachers are going to teach actual history.

  3. This whole thing is operating directly under the weight of the conservative/liberal divide over academia, journalism, science, expertise and authority. The post-modern right has successfully deconstructed universities, media outlets, as well as government itself. When none of these institutions any longer have any claim to legitimacy, everything becomes suspect.

    It's a frightening development for anyone who believes in science and reason. I go much furtherhere. on my blog for anyone interested.

  4. The thing about the Texas textbooks that people here may not be getting is that after Texas picks its books, the publishers don't bother printing anything else. So these bozos are, essentially, deciding what books will be available for your schools to buy.

    It used to be that the publishers decided what they'd print based on what Texas and California picked for their curricula, but California is clearly not going to be buying any books in the near or far future.

    Mobius, you might well want to do both — raising a huge fuss about how this new crop of books will make children more ignorant and how your hometown schools should not in any case spend money on them might be one good way to free up funds to hire teachers.

  5. So if I'm on a college admissions committee, can I reasonably argue that all students applying from texas post-2015 should be dropped as unqualified unless they can present an appropriate AP history score?

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