On May 13, ALA president Camila Alire sent a letter to the Texas State Board of Education expressing “deep concern” over proposed changes to the state’s social studies and history curriculum standards – changes that “appear to emphasize particular viewpoints while de-emphasizing or deleting competing viewpoints, at the expense of balance and accuracy.”
The letter reads, in part:
Because schools and school libraries need to prepare young persons to address the diversity of ideas and experiences they will encounter and to think critically for themselves, students have a right to accurate, balanced, comprehensive, and objective educational materials. The American Library Association (ALA) therefore joins with the Texas Library Association and REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking) in urging the Texas State Board of Education to adopt balanced history and social studies curriculum standards that are drafted by educational professionals and scholars and that reflect the diversity of people and ideas in our society.
Among the concerns that Alire cites is the fact that these standards could directly affect curriculum decisions in other states. Due to Texas’ size and considerable market share, many textbook publishers create books for national distribution that are based on that state’s standards. Details on the Board of Education’s controversial process can be found in this New York Times article and this overview in the Austin American-Statesman.
The letter incorporated much of the language from a statement developed by ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee.