Texas Textbook Controversy Sparks Concern

By Ashley Bagwell

  Texas conservatives have seemingly won out in a battle, which has lasted a number of years, regarding the contents of Social Studies textbooks for grade levels spanning from elementary through high school.

   As the leading buyer of textbooks, these decisions will prove to have a reach which spreads much further than just Texas schools, affecting students across the country. As the true recipients of this revised history, it is important to understand exactly what changes have been proposed, especially considering the controversy surrounding some of the decisions.

   While changes to textbooks are a continuous occurrence, this particular set of amendments has gained national interest due to the uncharacteristically conservative slant that has evolved.

   An amendment which specifically caught the attention of a few major media outlets involved the Late Oscar Romero. Romero, murdered 30 years ago this month, is being considered for sainthood in Rome and is undeniably a central figure in Latin American history.

    A panel of experts proposed that Romero’s story be added, alongside that of people such as Mohandas Gandhi, to World History textbooks. This proposal was unfortunately shot down in an amendment proposed by conservative Patricia Hardy to exclude Romero on March 10, 2010. The clip of Hardy’s proposal shows her arguing against including Romero because “I guarantee you most of you did not know who Oscar Romero was” and “I just happen to think it’s not [important].”