LIFESTYLE

Texas Board of Education shoots down controversial Mexican-American studies textbook

The Texas Board of Education has unanimously rejected a Mexican-American studies textbook that experts say is rife with factual errors and anti-Hispanic bias.

Wednesday's 14-0 preliminary move must still be affirmed by a final vote Friday. But it likely dooms a textbook that has long been disputed.

Two years ago, the Republican-controlled board defeated a proposal to create a full Mexican-American studies course in Texas. Instead, it asked publishers to submit proposed ethnic studies textbooks.

But only one Mexican-American studies book was offered. Academics and activists then spent months highlighting dozens of inaccuracies and stereotypes, including suggestions that Mexican immigrants were lazy.

The head of the textbook's publishing company, conservative ex-board member Cynthia Dunbar, says there's no legal basis for its rejection. She says doing so could spark legal action.

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"There's never been a book in the history of SBOE that's been attacked so prematurely,” Dunbar told the Texas Tribune back a couple of months ago, when hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Austin to protest what they say was a “demeaning” and “insulting" textbook.

In a report issued in early September, a group of historians and educators in Texas labelled the textbook as "blatantly racist;" saying it is full of errors and should not be used in schools.

They said that the textbook, entitled “Mexican American Heritage,” promotes the stereotype that Mexicans are inferior and relies on authors who have no expertise in Mexican-American studies.

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