AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday refused to expand the State Board of Education’s authority over textbook content beyond what the Legislature authorized in a 1995 law.Social conservatives on the board had asked him to overrule a 10-year-old opinion interpreting that law.
In his new ruling, Abbott did depart from one part of the prior ruling by saying the board can review supplemental materials, such as teacher guides, charts and workbooks.
The dispute dates from when lawmakers attempted to limit the board’s control over textbook content by only granting specific authority to reject books that are factually inaccurate or do not cover enough of the required state curriculum. Dan Morales, then the attorney general, interpreted that law in a 1996 opinion.
But Abbott’s opinion appears to expand the authority of the board to consider content as it relates to U.S. and Texas history and the free-enterprise system.
“This decision is a huge victory for the citizens of Texas in that it confirms the Texas board’s democratic check and balance over otherwise unaccountable textbook editors and publishers,” Leo said.
“It’s kind of good news, bad news,” said Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas, the board’s chairwoman. “The only downside is that we didn’t get complete authority back.”
Leo said she will keep pushing the Legislature to expand the 15-member board’s control over content.”I just don’t think that liberal New York editors should be deciding the content of textbooks,” she said.
What bothers is me is that no where do any of the articles say which books the board has had a problem with it’s content in the past ten years. Why does Leo think that the board needs me more control? How have the books been neglecting Texas history and the free- enterprise system? If this is such a huge victory, why aren’t the details of the battle well-known? Could it be possible that the legislature actually knew what it’s was doing when it restricted the boards power?