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US HISTORY TEXTBOOKS: Texas



Rob Gaudet calls our attention to an article in the New York Times (6/29/02) on US history books used, or not used, in Texas. In the following days the newspaper's letters column ran many comments on the article. Texas and California are the two states where not the school districts but the state chooses textbooks, giving a great advantage to the publishers and authors of textbooks which are adopted. Out of Many, the work of four respected historians, is one of the biggest sellers among American history college textbooks in the United States, but it is not likely to be available to Texas high school students taking advanced placement history. Conservative groups in Texas objected to two paragraphs in the nearly 1,000-page text that explained that prostitution was rampant in cattle towns during the late 19th century, before the West was fully settled. The article does not discuss another subject of contention in Texas: the story of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. Some Texans foresee that Mexicans will take over the state. If and when they do, the selection of history textbooks will change. Throughout the world, the choice of history textbooks will depend on decisions usually made by the ministry of education. "The politics of the day are always going to influence the presentation of history, said John Mack Faragher, a history professor at Yale University and the lead author of Out of Many". For the text of the article, see
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/29/arts/29TEXT.html?ex=1026744834&ei=1&en=b38a5ee2f76df0f8

Ronald Hilton - 7/4/02


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