AUSTIN — State Board of Education members on Wednesday narrowly rejected a plan to create a group of state university professors to scour Texas schoolchildren’s textbooks for factual errors.
The vote against was 8-7, with all the board’s Republicans except two opposing the measure.
The push for more experts to be involved came after more than a year of controversy over board-sanctioned books’ coverage of global warming, descriptions of Islamic history and terrorism and handling of the Civil War and the importance of Moses and the Ten Commandments to the founding fathers.
A tipping point to add more fact checking may have come last month. A suburban Houston mom’s alert that a newly approved geography text described African slaves forcibly brought to North America as “workers” set off a national furor.
At issue is whether the board should continue to rely on publishers and the public to flag errors. Currently, citizen panels nominated by the board have a narrower mission – to determine whether a book fits into Texas’ curriculum standards. Mostly, current and retired teachers sit on the panels.
Board vice chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, offered the backstop panel of university professors as an amendment to a proposed …