Texas influence on textbook content is overrated, article indicates
The Wall Street Journal is finally essentially saying what I have been saying for a long time -- that the Texas board of education's influence on textbook content has been greatly overrated. A WSJ article says,
Science standards in Texas resonate across the U.S., since it approves one set of books for the entire state. That makes Texas the nation's single largest market for high-school textbooks.
In the past, publishers often have written texts to its curriculum and marketed them nationally rather than spend time and money reworking them for different states and districts.
The notion that Texas controls textbook content outside of Texas is probably the result of the widespread adoption of non-controversial Texas-approved textbooks outside of Texas.
BTW, California has statewide textbook adoption for grades 1-8 but not at the high school level. 
The WSJ article continues,
That influence has diminished, said Jay Diskey, executive director of the Association of American Publishers' school division, as districts and statewide boards of education have become more likely to scrutinize texts approved in other states. Desktop publishing also has made it easier for companies to amend textbooks to suit different markets.
"It's not necessarily the case" that the Texas curriculum will pop up in other states, Mr. Diskey said.
As I have pointed out, a popular biology textbook, "Biology" by Ken Miller and Joe Levine, comes in regular, California, and Texas editions. But this is a high school textbook and California does not have statewide textbook adoption at the high school level, so why is there a California edition? And it was reported that in the last round of science textbook approvals in Texas in 2003, the "fundies" on the state board of education did not have enough votes to have weaknesses of evolution included in the textbooks, so why is there a Texas edition? I am wondering what the differences in these editions are.
The WSJ says,
But within Texas, what the board says, goes.
That's not true -- local school districts in Texas can use state-unapproved textbooks. The districts must pay the full cost of state-unapproved textbooks in the "foundation curriculum" (I presume that biology is in the foundation curriculum), but curiously the state will pay up to 70% of the cost of state-unapproved textbooks in the "enrichment curriculum."
The WSJ said,
Several years ago, the board expressed concern that a description of the Ice Age occurring "millions of years ago" conflicted with biblical timelines. The publisher changed it to "in the distant past." Another publisher sought to satisfy the board by inserting a heading about "strengths and weaknesses of evolution" in a biology text, drawing condemnation from science organizations.
What? I thought that in the last round of science textbook approvals in 2003, the "fundies" on the Texas SBOE did not have enough votes to have weaknesses of evolution included in the textbooks.
The WSJ said,
The board will use the new standards to choose new textbooks in 2011.
Labels: Texas controversy (new #2)