The State Board of Education voted 14-0 Wednesday to deny the adoption of a Mexican-American studies textbook decried by opponents as racist and inaccurate.
The textbook, titled “Mexican American Heritage,” was the only submission the board received when it made a 2015 call for textbooks for high school social studies classes, including Mexican-American studies.
But critics say the book is riddled with factual, “interpretive” and “omission” errors and doesn’t meet basic standards for use in classrooms.
Wednesday’s vote wasn’t the last step, as the board will take a final vote Friday. The only board member not present for the vote was David Bradley. In emails obtained through a state open records request by Texas Freedom Network, a left-leaning advocacy group, the Beaumont Republican had written that a “lack of quorum on [the book] would be nice. Deny the Hispanics a record vote. The book still fails.”
Wednesday’s vote followed an hours-long public hearing Tuesday, when 35 Hispanic activists and scholars spoke out against the textbook’s adoption.
In an interview Tuesday, Cynthia Dunbar, CEO of Momentum Instruction, the publisher of the controversial textbook, said she had sent a letter telling the board their rejection of the book would be “unconstitutional.”
Dunbar said that she had addressed opponents’ corrections of the book in a newer draft. Hispanic scholars said the new draft is still inaccurate.
Before the vote, board member Thomas Ratliff addressed Dunbar’s comments, saying that the State Board of Education is “not censoring” the textbook.
“I want us to be very clear about the vote we are taking today and Friday,” he said. Nothing prohibits Dunbar from publishing the book as it is or selling it to public school districts, he said. But it will not be on a board-approved list of instructional materials.
“The unanimous vote by the board today is an amazing victory for everyone who showed how inaccurate the book was,” said University of Texas at Austin professor Emilio Zamora, who was on a committee that submitted a list of more than 140 corrections of the textbook. Zamora is working with a co-author to negotiate a contract with a publisher on a Texas Mexican-American studies textbook.
He is determining whether he will meet the schedule for the upcoming 2018 bid.
University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley professor Christopher Carmona said activists would direct their energy toward approaching publishers of existing textbooks on Mexican-American studies and encouraging them to submit to the board’s upcoming bid.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Here are 11 things the Koch brothers didn’t want you to know
The mega-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch, stand apart in the world of Republicans.
This story first ran in May of 2014.
In 2012, their network of hardcore libertarian political donors spent $400 million on negative campaign ads intended to destroy government safety nets and defeat Democrats. They want to repeal Obamacare, dismantle labor unions, repeal any environmental law protecting clean water and air, roll back voting rights, privatize Social Security, stop a minimum wage increase and more. They don’t care about destroying the checks and balances in American democracy to get their way.
G7 diplomats cringing at weekend with Trump: ‘You just try to get through the summit without any damage’
Diplomats headed to France for the G7 are approaching it with a great deal of trepidation at the idea of spending a weekend with President Donald Trump who is escaping the U.S. at a time when a global recession appears to be on the horizon.
Put more bluntly the Washington Post reports, "Like an annual holiday gathering where the main goal is to get through the day without a family explosion, one of France’s main objectives as host of this weekend’s Group of Seven summit is to minimize the chances that President Trump will blow it up."
Ohio town faces ‘devastating’ factory closure as Trump’s promises to bring back manufacturing jobs fall through
The closure of a General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio is dealing a massive blow to a town that has been hit hard by globalization.
The Guardian reports that residents of Lordstown are reeling in the wake of the plant's closure, which further eroded the number of well paying jobs in the area.
“I think it’s devastating,” said Mark Sweetwood, the managing editor of the local Vindicator newspaper.
Local resident Patricia Galgozy tells the Guardian that she has watched the economic situation in the area deteriorate for decades now.