textbooks | KERA News


Laura Skelding

* Update, April 13: On Friday, the State Board of Education gave its final approval to development of the Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent course. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

A new report out by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds American students don’t fully understand many facts about slavery and the role it played in U.S. history. The study also finds that educators aren't adequately teaching students about it.

Texas Education Board Members Dismiss Textbook Controversy

Oct 8, 2015
Ross Ramsey / Texas Tribune

Some State Board of Education members are dismissing a social media-driven backlash against a high school textbook the 15-member elected body approved last year that describes African slaves as immigrant “workers," with one Republican saying the whole ordeal would "make for a great Jerry Seinfeld episode: something out of nothing.”

Texas Social Studies Textbook Under Fire For Calling Slaves 'Workers'

Oct 6, 2015
Ross Ramsey / Texas Tribune

The publisher of one of Texas’ controversial social studies textbooks has agreed to change a caption that describes African slaves as immigrant “workers” after a Houston-area mother’s social media complaint went viral over the weekend.

This summer there's been an intense debate surrounding the Confederate flag and the legacy of slavery in this country.

In Texas that debate revolves around new textbooks that 5 million students will use when the school year begins next month.

The question is, are students getting a full and accurate picture of the past?

Eleventh-grade U.S. history teacher Samantha Manchac is concerned about the new materials and is already drawing up her lesson plans for the coming year. She teaches at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a public school in Houston.

Thomas Guignard / Flickr

A Texas panel has approved 89 history and social studies textbooks for use in classrooms across the state, after one top publisher withdrew a book.

The Texas Tribune

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas Republicans are not pleased with last night’s executive action announcement, reception for a Dallas-to-Fort Worth bullet train was chilly, the State Board of Education will try to vote again on textbooks, and more.

UN Conspiracies, Communism and the Common Core: These were just some of the critiques brought up during the final public hearing over the revisions and adoption of the state’s 2015 social studies textbooks. 

Conservative activists, and some on the State Board of Education, did not react positively to certain revisions made to a selection of social studies textbooks up for adoption this week.

Ross Ramsey / Texas Tribune

University professors and activists are urging two major textbook publishers to modify climate change lessons in social studies books being considered for adoption in Texas classrooms.


The Texas Board of Education has approved tighter rules dictating who can serve on volunteer panels that scrutinize textbooks, a move that could soften ideological fights over what students learn in public schools.

Among the changes approved Friday include a mandate that teachers or professors be given priority for serving on textbook panels for subjects in their areas of expertise.

Trey Kay/The Long Game

A documentary airing again this weekend looks at classroom culture war battles that have taken place in Texas over the past 50 years.

“The Long Game: Texas’ Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom” airs at 9 p.m. Saturday on KERA 90.1 FM. (It first aired Dec. 15 on KERA.) You can also listen to it here.

The battle over how evolution will be presented for all public school students in Texas led to rallies and heated testimony during a State Board of Education meeting.

Much of the controversy has to do with a group of people who are proponents of "creationism" that are trying to alter the way evolution is presented in next year’s biology textbook, questioning the soundness of the theory.