Texas is polluting the educational system again

This seems to be a never-ending pattern. Texas has a huge collection of schools, and in their usual stupid wisdom, has put a small group of professional assholes in charge of dictating what textbooks they use, and then, because capitalism, all the textbook publishers fall in line and the rest of the country is afflicted with their choices. The Texas Freedom Network tries to oppose the State Board of Education (SBOE), but Texas don’t care. Here’s the latest dollop of poison the SBOE delivers.

This week’s Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) hearing proves once again that the board is where textbooks go to be censored.

In an astonishing series of votes, the SBOE rejected all but one publisher’s health textbooks for our public schools. The reason? Board members caved to critics who attacked the textbooks because they included topics related to sex education or because they acknowledged the existence of LGBTQ people.

The one publisher to gain approval was able to do so only after making significant changes at the behest of the board.

It is a sad day for Texas students who deserve the best information with which to make healthy decisions. It is also a sad day for the LGBTQ young people who are in our schools and the board continues to exclude.

This is a repeat of past instances of the board censoring textbooks. And it is a troubling sign of what is to come in 2022 when the SBOE revises social studies curriculum standards, a process that takes place not long after Gov. Abbott signed a law designed to limit discussions about the true history of racism and inequality in this country.

Fuck Texas. No, really, it’s a drag on the rest of the country. Sorry if you live in Texas, but could you get a little more loud and tear down this terrible system? I can tolerate you using your educational budgets to build nothing but football stadiums, but this is where you’re hurting everyone else, not just yourselves.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sorry if you live in Texas, but could you get a little more loud and tear down this terrible system?

    Sadly I think the people who’d oppose this are greatly outnumbered (and literally outgunned) by shitty, racist, Bible-fuckers.

  2. chrislawson says

    After much research, Texas conservatives have learned that the old Roman dictum panem et circenses works just as well without the bread.

  3. Doc Bill says

    I have supported the TFN for a couple of decades and they are tireless. It took three cycles but we finally voted in a science advocate, i.e not a flaming creationist, to a board position. For many years the unconfirmed head of the SBOE was a creationist dentist, young earth Biblical literalist at that, and he only got the boot after the Texas legislature failed to confirm him. Still, we had to fight “both sides” and “strengths and weaknesses” malarky for years.

    The problem is that SBOE board positions are elected. It’s difficult to field normal people to spend a considerable amount of time, money and energy to run for a critical but thankless job. However, the evangelical-infested counties have an endless supply of ignorant, sexually-repressed home-school candidates pushing the American Taliban agenda.

    And, there we are.

  4. says

    Oh, and welcome to the Dark Ages in the united states and especially texass, which are only lit by the burning of books by shrieking barbarians.

  5. anat says

    At least California also uses a state-wide textbook approval system and can serve as a mitigating factor, ensuring that at least some publishers seek to serve students in the decent states.

  6. Walter Solomon says

    Considering blue states generally have larger populations, why does Texas have so much influence?

    If Texas’s SBOE disapproves of what other states require in text books, Texas should have its own independent publisher just as it has its own independent electric grid.

  7. R. L. Foster says

    Ah, Texas. Beautiful place. Strange people. A willfully ignorant bunch. I was talking to an undergrad from Texas about the Civil War recently. He’s from some small town north of Dallas. This young man is 19 and was gobsmacked when I told him Texas seceded to maintain slavery. After all of the discussions and articles about it over the last few years I assumed everyone was pretty much on the same page. Maybe it made them uncomfortable, but they accepted it. Not this young blondie. It was about States’ rights he insisted. Oh, geez, I thought, do I have to explain this yet again to some ignorant tool? He couldn’t accept it. Even when I directed him to the text of the Texas Secession Declaration of Feb. 2, 1861. (It’s on a Texas.gov website, for shit’s sake!) But that’s not what he was taught in school. To hear him tell it the war was provoked by the North when they elected Lincoln. And why did Texas dislike Lincoln so much, I asked gently? He didn’t share Southern values. He was a threat to our way of life. Sigh. What can you say? He was correct, but only up to a point. I pointed out that the Southern way of life was anchored on cheap labor. Slave labor. Slaves were currency. Bought and sold like horses, but more valuable. If one owned ten healthy slaves that was money in the bank. Need quick cash? Sell young Tom down river. Plantation is just a fancy word for a slave labor camp. That struck a nerve. He remained unmoved. And offended. I was insulting his ancestors and heritage. I gave up. This is what they teach down in the Lone Star State. If they could, they’d make the entire Civil War disappear or be relegated to a few paragraphs in a textbook. So, I’m not at all surprised to read that they are trying to make sex and gays disappear, too.

  8. raven says

    Texas has the 9th highest teenage pregnancy rate in the USA at 24 per 1000 women (data from 20219).
    The USA average is 16.7 per 1000 women

    This matters a lot because teenage pregnancy is highly correlated and causal with life long poverty. When you start your life out behind, it is hard to catch up.

    One effective way to lower this rate is…comprehensive sex education. Which is always strongly opposed in Texas.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Walter Solomon @ # 8: … why does Texas have so much influence?

    For many decades, Texas had the only statewide system of textbook purchase (now, as per anat @ # 7, joined by California). In other states, publishers sell their books district by district (in effect, county by county); having one committee somewhere say “No.” does not crush the enterprise. Decades ago, a cunning crew of hyperchristians (mostly a husband-wife team) took over the Texas book acquisition process, controlling such a large part of the market that publishers – and thus authors/editors – had to bow to whatever they said. That, combined with local fanatic anklebiters around the country, forced a national dumbing-down across the USA.

    We’re facing the consequences of that effect now, and not just in school materials.

  10. anat says

    Pierce R. Butler @11: California having a statewide textbook adoption process is not new. Richard Feynman described the frustrating process of adopting a new math textbook sometime in the 1970s in ‘Surely you’re joking Mr Feynman’. In fact, in recent years California became more permissive, allowing districts to teach from textbooks not explicitly on the list of adopted books as long as the districts in question run a similar process on their own for said text books.

    Some examples for changes in K-8 history instruction can be found here (I only skimmed the article, I have a feeling the author isn’t very pleased with all the demands for inclusion).

    I once read an article about selecting trade books for Texas vs California schools: Publishers trying to get their books adopted in Texas avoid depictions of boys and girls as friends, avoid depiction of white and black kids as friends, prefer ‘traditional’ depiction of boys and girls; publishers aiming for California avoid showing kids eating sweets, show environmentally-conscious behavior. Fun!

  11. fernando says

    Why not let the teachers in each school choose the textbooks for their class?
    I don’t find a very good idea, at all, a textbook being choosed by some comitee, controled by political or religious interests.
    Only teachers should choose the textbook for their class. For example, in our schools the teachers are the only ones to choose the textbooks for History, Matemathic, Physics, etc.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    California and New York should make a deal to refuse textbooks that do not cover certain subjects, as such textbooks are deficient. This would force the textbook companies to ignore that part of the country that wants to secede anyway.

  13. whheydt says

    Re: birgerjohansson @ #15…
    While I applaud your idea, the more likely outcome (considering the size of the markets) would be two editions of each book. One for “red” states (i.e. Texas and friends) and one for “blue” states (i.e. New York, California and their friends). They could even color-code the covers. Then in later years, people could ask each other, “Did you get red or blue textbooks?” in order to make a first cut at determining educational deficiencies. Sigh…