nT.DBSERvER Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. Editor and Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Co-Editor: Joe Holley Staff Writer: Ruperto Garcia EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Ei Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, New York City; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C:; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.: Kaye Northcutt, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana, Tx.; Susan Reid, Austin; A:R. Tehachapi, Ca.; Alfred J. Watkins, Austin. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, John Henry Faulk, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz, Matt Lyon, Greg Moses, Janie Paleschic, Laura Richardson, M. P. Rosenberg, Bob Sindermann, Jr., Paul Sweeney. Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Grant Fehr, Bob Clare, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Ronald Cortes CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Berke Breathed, Jeff Danziger, Ben Sargent, Mary Margaret Wade, Gail Woods We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Business Manager: Frances Barton Advertising, Special Projects: Cliff Olofson The Texas Observer postage paid at Austin, Texas. 75V prepaid. One year, $20; two years, $38; three years, $56. One year rate for full-time students, $13. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from Microfilming Corporation of America, Box 10, Sanford, N.C. 27330. Copyright 1982 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Vol. 74, No. 16 September 3, 1982 The Progressive Biweekly The Progressive Biweekly PAGE TWO NOW THAT THE STATE textbook hearings are over and the 15-member State Textbook Committee has gone off to sift through 2,214 pages of protests, I keep thinking about Mrs. Billy C. Hutcheson, a protestor whom Austin American Statesman columnist John Kelso wrote about. Mrs. Hutcheson, textbook chairman for the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, complained about a photograph on page 481 of a book titled Civics for Americans. “The petitioner,” the printed complaint read, “questions whether an adult Mousketeer is in the background of the photograph.” The publisher’s response to the complaint, printed directly underneath, read: “The picture on Page 481 shows a poster of a Hopi Indian woman in the traditional squash blossom hairstyle. A well-known turn-of-the-century photograph by Adam Vroman is the basis of this poster. . . .” Kelso writes that he went to page 481 of Civics for Americans and found “it was simply a picture of a bank scene people standing around cashing checks or something. But in the background of the photo, on the wall of the bank, could be seen hanging the worrisome poster of the so-called ‘adult Mousketeer.’ ” Shade of Emily Litella of “Saturday Night Live” fame, though I doubt there was a “Never mind” from Mrs. Hutcheson. Six of the ten volumes of objections this year were submitted by Mel and Norma Gabler, the Longview couple who for 21 years have reviewed almost every book being considered for use in Texas schools. Many of their complaints are almost as absurd as Mrs. Hutcheson’s. Some examples: *A civics ttxtbook mentions that 32 amendments have been sent to the state for ratification since 1789, that 26 have been ratified and five have not. “One, the amendment to guarantee equal rights to women, is still being considered at the time of the writing of this book.” Gabler Objection: “The text is misleading students to believe that women are not guaranteed equal rights already. This is totally untrue. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees women equal rights. It is just a matter of enforcing that law and taking advantage of the rights it guarantees.” *A homemaking textbook suggests, “Find out how school rules are made in your school. Find out how they can be changed. Describe the procedure to your classmates.” Gabler Objection: “The text is stressing change. This teaches children dissatisfaction with rules; a desire to rebel. Why assume that students need to change rules?” *A world geography textbook suggests that “No one knows exactly how people began raising plants for food instead of searching out wild plants. . . . Perhaps a person in some long-ago kind of food and began to give those plants special care where they were found.” Gabler Objection: “The text states theory as fact, leaving no room for other theories, such as the Biblical account of Cain as a farmer.” Texas is the second largest market for textbook sales, accounting for about 8% of the nation’s textbook purchases. Education experts and publishers agree that a textbook rejected by Texas is almost guaranteed to be an economic failure nationally. Although the Gablers claim to operate “the nation’s largest textbook review clearinghouse,” it is difficult to assess how much of an influence they and their allies exert over the textbook selection process. The textbook committee does not reveal reasons for rejecting particular texts. In 1981, the Gablers objected to 21 textbooks; the committee rejected 10. “It is known nationally that there is a close scrutinization of materials here,” says Chet Foraker, director of sales for Steck-Vaughn Publishers in Austin. Foraker argues that such scrutiny has had a positive effect over the years. He mentioned the bland, white middle-class Dick and Jane-type suburban families in most elementary reading books in the fif 2 SEPTEMBER 3, 1982 POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701.
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