How do your ratings impact textbook sales so much?
Local schools respect our work. We absolutely document all we say. Texas itself cannot match our thoroughness. (We took eight months of quality
time to critique five 1999-copyright high school World History books that averaged 1000 pages each.) Our academically rigorous standard textbook review criteria correlate with the state curriculum. We offer valuable info free.
You are in the news for finding factual errors in textbooks. Do you no longer focus on editorial bias?
We still review and rank textbooks for substantive subject-matter content just like always. The factual errors we happen upon catch the media's eye because they are sensational one-liners.
Which are the good publishers, and which are the bad ones?
There are no good or bad publishers. There are good and bad editors. A publisher can have the best text in one adoption, and the worst book in the next, depending on who the editor is.
Where does Texas rank in national influence on textbooks?
Texas state-adopts textbooks at all grade levels, California only through Grade 8. Texas therefore most influences high school textbooks, and is
second only to California in influencing Grades K-8. Other states should always demand the Texas edition of a book if there is one; and if there
is no Texas edition it is probably an inferior book, since publishers submit their least offensive books in Texas, because Texas has "watchdogs."
Have publishers ever paid you, or given you anything of value, for reviewing their books?
No. Our reviews include a text's bad points – including all factual errors – for which no publisher would pay.
You no longer testify at the Texas State Board of Education annual textbook adoption public hearings. Why?
Lowering our voice and working under opponents' radar gets better results.
Explain your organization's history with textbook analysis and censorship.
Market demand is not censorship. It is settled law that schools do not censor if they choose one textbook over another, just as you do not censor if you buy Tom Clancy but not Stephen King.
Publishers may offer any kind of texts they wish. We tell people what books say before they buy them.
What are the guidelines used to determine whether material in textbooks is offensive or inappropriate ethically or ideologically, and why is a textbook considered an appropriate place to monitor ethics?
The bar is higher for public school textbooks. Unlike TV and movies, tax monies buy them. Unlike library books, captive audiences use them.
On ideological issues like environmentalism, feminism, or constitutional interpretation, our reviews show textbooks' shortchanging conservative
policy options. Why does the "education" establishment call our challenging liberal monopolies "censorship"? Because they would sooner reduce total coverage or drop topics altogether, than fully explain politically incorrect alternatives.
On ethical issues, textbooks must respect the highest common denominator. They would never insult ethnic sensitivities of racial minorities
(e.g., disrespectful epithets). They should never offend ethical sensibilities of religious minorities (e.g., "literature" books role modeling immorality without consequence, coarsening the learning experience without redeeming academic value).
When evolution is considered a fact in America's modern scientific community (evolution has been seen in action over the years, and has yet to be logically and scientifically disproven), why is it required to be treated as a theory in biology textbooks?
Textbooks' treatment of evolutionary theories is about the art of persuasion, not the science of biology.
The claim is that because genetic variation has been observed, increases in net genetic complexity have occurred. But though the mechanism for genetic variation may be mutation,
there is no proven mechanism for increased net genetic complexity, which evolution requires.
Rhetorical stealth phrases in textbooks mask this scientific weakness.
They define evolution as "change over time" or "descent with modification," that is, as two very different concepts –
observed genetic variation (antibiotic-resistant bacteria, insecticide-resistant insects) and unobserved increases in net genetic complexity (i.e., new genes)
– the former supposedly validating the latter. Yet with no mechanism for the appearance of more complex kingdoms, phyla, and classes, evolutionary theory cannot explain biodiversity.
Who are the analysts chosen to go over the textbooks in question, and what qualifications have they?
This credential mongering is an ad hominem tactic to dodge inconvenient criticism. If points raised are valid, what matters the source?
Why stoop to personalities rather than judge ideas on their merits?