22 November 2009

Texas textbooks toast?

I’ve frequently had reason to talk about Texas science standards here, thanks to the dubious actions of the Texas State Board of Education. It’s often been noted by commentators around the nation is that because Texas is such a huge textbook market, textbook publishers make their books conform to the Texas standards. So when Texas adopts bad standards, the rest of the United States tends to feel the effects.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the state is seriously considering moving to online materials, and it could be very quickly – maybe less than a year. The Texas Tribune has a longer article detailing the same subject.

I think this is probably good news in many ways (some of my thoughts on textbooks are here). People in other states will probably have less fear of bad decisions bleeding over into their jurisdictions.

That said, I am worried that this might reduce the spotlight on the Texas State Board of Education off the hook. Their decisions might be subjected to less scrutiny and criticism nationally, creating the possibility that they might do more damage, albeit to fewer people.

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