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    Content of Textbooks Education Board's Job

    09/03/2002
    on 9/3/02.

    Textbook publishers who want to do business with the state would be wise to heed a warning from the Texas Education Agency.
    It warns against changing the content of textbooks because of pressure from special interest groups or individual State Board of Education members.
    The TEA sent a letter to all textbook publishers reminding them that proposed changes must go before the full board for approval.
    The State Board of Education has 250 social studies and history textbooks under review. On Nov. 15, it will determine which ones go on a list from which Texas public school districts can select.
    The Texas Public Policy Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy and several individuals indicate some publishers have been willing to alter content after the groups complained.
    A public process allows interested parties to express their views. Allowing certain parties to deal directly with the publishers undermines the process.
    Publishers want to please because Texas school districts will spend more than $344 million on books and supplementary materials.
    Because Texas is the second-largest textbook consumer in the nation, it drives sales in other states as well.
    The elected members of the SBOE, rather than special interest groups with their own agendas, should have the final say on the textbook lists.