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Texas schoolbook changes may affect Calif.

May 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The battle over textbook changes in Texas makes its way to California. Conservative changes to Texas textbooks could wind up in California school kids' classrooms. But some state lawmakers are now taking steps to prevent that.One state lawmaker is concerned that with the racial and religious diversity in California, many people would find the Texas textbooks inappropriate. State Senator Leland Yee's bill, which is up for a vote this week, would require the California Board of Education to keep an eye out for new textbooks reflecting the Texas changes.

After the Texas School Board adopted landmark changes to textbooks last week, one California lawmaker is pushing his proposal to make sure those changes don't end up here.

"What I'm afraid of is that the Texas curriculum will, in fact, be the standard for a lot of the social science/history textbooks, and that we end up having to then adopt that particular textbook," said state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).

The new Texas version will give more prominence to Christian and/or conservative information by:

  • Encouraging students to question the separation of church and state doctrine,
  • Adding the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and '90s, such as the influence of the Moral Majority; but not liberal or minority-rights groups,
  • and replacing the word "capitalism" with "free market."

Yee says Texas also approved downplaying Latino history and civil rights programs.

"It is these kinds of whitewashing that goes on in the Texas curriculum that is of tremendous concern to me," said Yee.

Texas is such a large textbook buyer that publishers may not want to print a different edition for other states, and it doesn't help that California can't update its textbook requirements for publishers because of budget problems.

Randy Thomasson, from the conservative group SaveCalifornia.com, thinks textbooks have been too liberal.

"Texas is really setting the standard of what is more accurate than what used to be," said Thomasson.

Some Christian parents just want their kids' textbooks to be accurate.

"I think it's really sad that they would try to kind of alter and leave part of our history out of the books," said Monica Collard, a parent from Walnut Creek.

"Our textbooks have been so rewritten so many times, it really doesn't portray authentic history," said David DelPadre, a parent from Mission Viejo.

Under pressure, Thomas Jefferson was reinstated to a list of political philosophers that the Texas students will study. He was originally deleted because of his belief in separation of church and state.


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