The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 404
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
(2) the Commissioner of Education (a professional educator who is ap-
pointed by the Board and approved by the Texas Senate); and (3) the
commissioner's professional and technical staff.
Textbook adoption, like the TEA itself, is designed in a democratic
manner to reflect the wishes and needs of both teachers and the public.
Responding to the TEA's published guidelines and standards for each
subject taught in the Texas public schools, interested authors and pub-
lishers submit books for consideration by the State Adoption Commit-
tee, a changing body of teachers from the various districts. The Adop-
tion Committee reviews and evaluates the books offered by publishers,
and ballots to choose the five best. The State Board then holds open
hearings where the public may enter protests against (but not praise
for) any of the proposed texts; and, finally, taking the professional and
public advice under consideration, the Board approves five texts for use
throughout Texas. Teacher committees in each of the 1,ioo indepen-
dent school districts review the five approved books and select the one
most suitable for local needs.
In the 195os the public hearings concerning history texts usually
brought out only those interested in preserving patriotic idealism and
those fervently dedicated to eliminating any concepts that they labeled
as socialistic or communistic. By the mid-196os, however, the protest-
ers had increased in number and included representatives of various
groups, armed with statistics documenting the poor treatment of racial
and ethnic minorities in, or their complete absence from, textbooks to
be used in the public schools. Protests continued into the 197os, when
feminists deplored the lack of role models for girls and the overall ab-
sence of women in textbooks. Authors and publishers, wanting their
texts adopted, have endeavored to incorporate material that will satisfy
legitimate complaints. In some cases in the recently adopted texts, the
inclusion of women and minority groups has been gracefully worked
into the narrative; but in others, the material appears awkwardly tacked
on, resembling a shed attached to an old farmhouse.
In theory, the State Adoption Committee should be inundated by
textbooks from publishers, and, indeed, this may occur for mathematics,
science, or history books having wide, national appeal. But in the 1977
screening for Texas history books,l only five publishers submitted vol-
umes, a fact that dramatizes the difficulty in securing competitive books
1J. Henry Perry, Jr., director, Textbook Division, Texas Education Agency, to M. S. H.,
Dec. 28, 1978.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/466/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.