How Partisan Politics Shape States’ History Textbooks
New York Times evaluates differences among textbooks in California and Texas, finding big differences in what students are taught about civil rights, immigration, and more
(EWA Radio: Episode 227)
They say history is a tale told by winners — so who’s writing the textbooks and deciding what students are taught in two of the nation’s biggest states? Dana Goldstein, a national education correspondent for The New York Times, read over 4,800 pages of textbooks to determine how the political leanings of policymakers and the appointed textbook review committees influence what students — and future voters — are being taught about the nation’s history. Among the key findings for California and Texas: textbook publishers adjust the content on seminal topics like civil rights, immigration, and LGBTQ issues to align with state-specific standards. Goldstein discusses how she and The New York Times’ graphics team collaborated on the visual storytelling for the project, what she’s heard from students and teachers about their own classroom experiences, and how local reporters can find nuanced stories around curriculum and instruction in their own communities.