In what should by no means be a viable arrangement of words, Texas has decided not to let experts fact-check its consistently misleading if not blatantly fictional textbooks. Because as we all know, facts have a notoriously liberal bias.
According to ABC News, a mother recently complained that her child’s ninth grade geography book referred to African slaves simply as “workers.” And how does something like that possibly get omitted from an educational text? Easily: The Texas Board of Education, which approves its own textbooks, relies “on citizen review panels — often teachers, parents, business leaders or other experts — whose members are nominated by board members.”
And of course, should any Texan see something in a textbook that rubs them the wrong way (like absolutely any reference to the KKK or Jim Crow laws, for instance), they are welcome and encouraged to bring the issue to the attention of the board themselves.
To remedy this clear oversight, board member Thomas Ratliff suggested getting actual academics to fact-check the textbooks. This was, of course, rejected.
Instead, the board voted to “tweak” its system by demanding that a majority of the already-existing review panel be made up of people with “sufficient content expertise and experience.” This expertise, however, is judged by none other than the education commissioner himself.
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.
While some people, like Kathy Miller of the watchdog group Texas Freedom Network, have blasted the board for its wildly biased decisions, others, like Roy White, a retired Air Force pilot and head of a conservative group called Truth in Texas Textbooks, had a different view of the issue. Namely that the textbooks didn’t do enough to tie Islamic extremism to the attacks on September 11.
But fortunately for Roy, Texas makes rewriting history to your personal tastes a breeze.