Texas Textbook Showdown brings criticism from original author

AUSTIN, TX (UNDATED) - Teachers and professors who wrote the original draft of new high school history guidelines say the State Board of Education distorted their work.

Six members of the nine-member review committee released a two-page statement Wednesday as the board took public testimony on politically charged changes to the social studies standards. The committee said suggested edits "reflect their lack of historical knowledge and their failure to listen to the appointed-citizen review committees."

Committee members said they felt compelled to speak out by their "collective disgust" at the "distorted culmination of our work."

During Wednesday's hearing, a chorus of state and national leaders criticized the new standards and urged the board to delay a final vote scheduled for Friday.

The board is to hear from 206 people who have signed up to testify Wednesday on the much-debated curriculum.  A vote later this week will set the standards for teaching history and social studies to some 4.8 million public school students in kindergarten through the 12th grade for 10 years.

Conservative board members have moved to reverse what some see as liberal bias in the classroom and in textbooks. Critics charge the interim changes whitewash American history and downplay the role of African-Americans, Latinos and women.

Why should you care? Texas is such a huge purchaser of textbooks that often other states will buy books that were originally created for Texas standards. Those standards are revised for each subject about every 10 years.

You can follow developments throughout the day here at KTRE.com and on KTRE's East Texas News.