|November 2004 Newsletter|
Three days after the November 2004 election, public school
textbook reformers won three stunning national victories as Texas' State Board of Education (SBOE) approved grades
6-10 Health programs – victories for abstinence in sex ed, for heterosexual marriage only, for editorial
accountability to the people. Losers were those who advocate failed "comprehensive sex ed" (the condom lobby); who
legitimize same-sex "marriage" through asexual stealth phrases in textbooks; and who oppose SBOE power to enforce
general textbook content standards, to tell publishers what NOT to do as well as what to do.
In this Health textbook adoption, Texas law undercut the condom lobby. Events finished it off. The Education Code requires emphasis on abstinence in sex ed and makes contraception info optional. As submitted, therefore, major publishers' student Health texts presented sexual abstinence only. They covered "barrier protection" in their ancillaries, free supplements from publishers to schools that buy their books. The state review panel agreed that this met state standards. It gave each local school district flexibility to decide how much contraceptive instruction is appropriate in their community. Going in, the condom lobby faced an uphill fight to force student Health texts to tout teen contraception.
— first success —
Abstinence supporters let the condom lobby talk at the July public hearing as Americans vacationed, but to its chagrin they dominated the September hearing in numbers, logic, wisdom. Said one, "We have no problems 'preaching' to our youth, 'Don't Do Drugs.' However … we stumble when it comes to telling our children to not have sex before marriage." Said another: "The main opponents to this abstinence-based text have been rallied by Planned Parenthood, which has a product to sell." In the end, the condom lobby got absolutely nothing on contraception into any major publisher's student Health text. Its chief spokesman abruptly resigned. This was the first great victory. Two more triumphs followed.
The condom lobby made sex ed in Health texts the only issue at the hearings. Yet there was another concern. Our reviews found that some of those books redefined marriage to include same-sex "couples" through multiple asexual stealth phrases. This meant publisher nullification of Texas' Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which declares same-sex "marriage" and "civil unions" against public policy and void in the state. With time running short, heroic SBOE conservative Terri Leo resolved to challenge this at the November Board meeting, which would vote on approving these texts for local adoption.
— second success —
She brilliantly succeeded. The national media, poised for debate on contraceptives, pounced instead on the
marriage issue; and most of our elected SBOE dared not scuttle her motion to reject books that nullified Texas'
DOMA. Seeing this, suddenly publishers would make revisions. Mrs. Leo also happened to have two-
— third success —
The third great victory was that Texas' SBOE again debunked the myth that it cannot and will not enforce general textbook content standards. General textbook content standards are a democratic restraint by Texas' elected SBOE on elitist editors and otherwise unaccountable authors, telling what they must not do. Texas' defense of its DOMA in textbooks is a model for other states with DOMAs to emulate. All other states should insist on the Texas edition of these books. One seldom sees three so great simultaneous textbook victories in a lifetime. In the same week as the presidential election, God engineered this Texas Health textbook approval outcome, and the other side knew it, and was helpless.
Texas has approved three major publishers' 6th grade Health books for 2005 local adoption. They rank as follows:
|Health & Wellness • Macmillan ©2006
|Teen Health, Course 1 • Glencoe ©2005
|Decisions for Health, Level Green • Holt ©2005
We created seven one-page, side-by-side comparison charts briefly contrasting these books' treatment of the above seven topics, which document our ranking. You may request those charts here. Publishers tout their texts' teaching aids. We stress their subject matter content. Publishers tell you their strengths. We include their weaknesses.
This evaluation covers student texts and Teacher's Editions only. It does not assess their ancillaries, which were not part of the official submissions and which Texas never approved. Local school districts and individual teachers will have to monitor the ancillaries for age-inappropriate material and lapses in editorial judgment.
No publisher funded these reviews. We have no financial stake in any textbook company. Unlike publisher sales reps, we have no monetary interest in textbook adoption decisions. our support comes from concerned individuals and a few small foundations, which to our knowledge have no ties to the textbook industry.