The State’s Social-Studies Textbook Review Needs Experts Like You

Our friends at the Texas Freedom Network remind us that the Texas Education Agency has begun the process of selecting individuals to review proposed new social-studies textbooks. After the review process is completed, the State Board of Education is expected to vote in November 2014 on adoption of new texts for social studies from kindergarten through high school.

The deadline to sign up to serve as a reviewer is January 24.

There’s an unfortunate tradition in Texas of undue influence on textbook selection by nincompoops with an ax to grind. Hence, as the folks at TFN have said, “It’s critical that truly qualified individuals serve on the review teams and counter far-right efforts to politicize the textbooks. That’s especially important because the new textbooks must cover controversial curriculum standards that distort the history of slavery, civil rights, separation of church and state and other sensitive topics.”

To apply to serve on one of the official social-studies review teams, you can click here: Just scroll down the page and click again on the State Review Panel Nomination Form link.

To help us ensure that TEA and SBOE members give your application the serious consideration it deserves, please let us know that you have signed up to serve on a review team. Send an email to and let us know you have applied.

Don’t let the nincompoops define our history to suit their prejudices and to promote their political agendas!

Here are some of the subjects for which textbooks will be reviewed, with much of the reviewers’ work occurring over the summer:

Grades K-8 Social Studies
World Geography
World History
U.S. History since 1877
U.S. Government

TEA explains the duties of reviewers as follows:

“The state review panel is charged with evaluating instructional materials to determine coverage of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and identify factual errors. Panelists play an important role in ensuring that those who rely on State Board of Education-adopted textbooks to educate and to be educated have the benefit of quality instructional materials. The materials adopted under Proclamation 2015 are scheduled for use in schools beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.

“State review panels are scheduled to convene in Austin for one week during the summer of 2014 to review materials submitted under Proclamation 2015. The TEA will reserve hotel lodging and reimburse panel members for all travel expenses, as allowable by law.

· Panel members should plan to remain on-site for five days to conduct the evaluation.
· Panel members will be asked to complete an initial review of instructional materials prior to the in-person review.
· Members will receive orientation and training both prior to the initial review and at the beginning of the in-person review.
· Panel members might be asked to review additional content following the in-person review.
· Because many of the samples will be delivered electronically, panel members should be comfortable reviewing materials on-screen rather than in print.
· Panel members should also have a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel.