Notes and Documents
Texas History Textbooks in Texas Schools
DAVID G. MCCOMB*
THE STATE OF TEXAS REQUIRES THE STUDY OF TEXAS HISTORY IN THE
seventh grade and the Texas Education Agency looks after the se-
lection of textbooks. The agency issues guidelines, receives prospective
texts, and after two public hearings, designates a choice of up to five
books for adoption by the I, ioo school districts of the state. The selec-
tion currently occurs on a six-year cycle. In 1987 the agency received
four texts and approved three of them. The books, replete with lavish
full-color photographs and maps, are expensive to produce, but the
2oo,ooo-student market promises a high reward for success. After all
of this careful production and selection, however, there still remains a
question for those interested in Texas history and for those concerned
about what goes on in Texas classrooms-what is the quality of the his-
tory presented to the students through the books and is it appropriate?
According to the guidelines, a text is supposed to support democratic
beliefs and free enterprise. It should present enough material for two
semesters of work and provide exercises in social studies, particularly
those that develop critical thinking. Also, it should contain primary and
secondary source materials, the Texas Declaration of Independence,
the state pledge, the state song, maps, and other supportive material.
Designated topics include geography, exploration, colonization, inde-
pendence, politics, economics, and social development. Within those
topics the roles of both men and women, ethnic and racial groups, and
public education are to be examined along with urbanization, indus-
trial development, and water management.
*David G. McComb is professor of history at Colorado State University and author of Texas
A Modern Hutory (1989).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed October 6, 2015.