Hoping to prevent the influence of the Texas State Board of Education from creeping into California's schools, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has been working on legislation that would keep recent conservative curriculum changes from being reproduced in state textbooks.
State Sen. Leland Yee
As the Texas Tribune and the LA Times have recently reported, states far beyond Texas have been working to blunt the effects of the board's recent social studies curriculum changes, which place more emphasis, among other things, on conservative figures and institutions such as Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority.
To see what all the fuss is about, check out this very cool online application the Tribune built to show the context of each of the changes.
Because Texas dominates such a large share of the textbook market, the state board has long been seen as having tremendous influence over the contents of textbooks nationwide. Publishers have long taken a one-size-fits-all approach to book production, printing the same books for every state, so long as they meet local standards.
Whether perceptions of the board's power are justified have been the subject of some debate, but Yee isn't taking any chances. As his chief of staff, Adam Keigwin, told the Tribune last week:
“The way he looks at it, they’re rewriting history. It’s not accurate; and it’s insulting to a number of our communities of color,” Keigwin said. “The de-emphasis on civil rights in so many areas – reducing the scope of Latino history, especially in a state like Texas – is just mind-boggling.”