Board of Education Officially Rejects Controversial Mexican-American Studies Textbook

State & Regional

The Texas State Board of Education rejected a controversial history textbook about Mexican-Americans on Friday morning in a final vote of 15 – 0. 

The textbook, “Mexican American Heritage”, stirred up a lot of controversy after it was released in May.

Critics of the book say it is racist, promotes inaccurate stereotypes, and misinterprets historical events. A committee of educators charged with reviewing the book in September identified 141 factual errors.

The book’s author was asked to update the text. This week the committee says the updated copy now reveals more than 400 factual errors.

“Aside from all the stereotypes and everything else, that’s in the book that people found deeply offensive, we have a job as members of the state board,” Ruben Cortez Jr., member of the State Board of Education said. “We can’t allow any book that has factual errors—because we can’t allow those types of books in the hands of kids.”

Cortez says Friday’s vote is a relief and a victory after a months-long battle.

“As soon as I saw that 15 no vote, I mean I got chills, it was remarkable,” Cortez said. “I think it was a great victory for all Texas school children today.”

The book’s publisher and former member of the SBOE, Cynthia Dunbar, threatened on Tuesday to pursue legal action if the board does not approve her textbook.

An attempt was made to reach Dunbar and ask if she still plans to file a lawsuit. She has not responded by the time this article was published.

Dunbar’s textbook was the only submission the board received after putting out a call in 2015 for reading material on the subject.

Friday’s final vote to reject the book means it is back to square one. Board members approved another call for submissions next year for additional textbooks in Mexican-American studies. Those books would go into Texas classrooms in the 2018-2019 school year.

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