Top Texas education officials rejected Wednesday letting university experts fact-check textbooks approved for use in public-school classrooms statewide, instead reaffirming a vetting system that has helped spark years of ideological battles over how potentially thorny lessons in history and science are taught.
Republican board member Thomas Ratliff had proposed bringing in academics to check textbooks only for factual errors, but his measure failed 8-7 after lengthy discussion.
"I know people are concerned about pointy-headed liberals in the ivory tower making our process different or worse," Ratliff, of Mount Pleasant, said before the vote. "But I hold our institutions of higher education in fairly high regard."
Texas has 5.2 million public-school students, a large enough textbook market that publishers making modifications to meet its standards can affect material in other states.
As it mulls books proposed for approval, the board relies on citizen review panels — often teachers, parents, business leaders or other experts — whose members are nominated by board members. Other Texans can also check the books on their own and identify what they see as errors in public testimony during board meetings.
Ratliff had noted that some conservative board members have long stocked review panels with people more concerned with ideology than subject matter expertise. That gave rise to controversies over how textbooks handle climate change and evolution, or how they describe the influence biblical figures such as Moses had on America's Founding Fathers.
Apparently creating textbooks to dumb down the American people is now a Texas export.
Of course what can you expect from Texas?
After all that is where then Governor George W. Bush first started formulating what would one day be No Child Left Behind.
And literally NOTHING has damaged public education as thoroughly as that did.