Two States, Two Takes on Teaching U.S. History

New York Times compares history textbooks for California and Texas, and finds partisan politics help shape the content
(EWA Radio: Episode 227)

They say history is a tale told by winners — so who’s writing the textbooks for the two most populous states? And how are the differing political climates in California and Texas reflected in those materials? what do the differences in those books reveal about the political climate do they tell Dana Goldstein, a national education correspondent for The New York Times, read over 4,800 pages of U.S. history 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 that bring very different perspectives. In this rebroadcast episode, 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.

This episode of EWA Radio first aired on February 3, 2020.

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