Senate Committee Reacts to Textbook Controversy

Aug 14, 2013

Senator Dolores R. Gresham, R-Somerville, District 26 — Chester, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, McNairy, and Henderson Counties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The state Senate Education Committee plans a hearing in October to review Tennessee's school textbook selection process.

Republican Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville is the committee's chairwoman. She announced this week that the panel will review the role and work of the state's Textbook Commission with a view toward ensuring an accurate and unbiased approach.

Nathan James is a research analyst working for Gresham’s committee.

“There have been a number of concerns from potential historical inaccuracies to distortions and things like this. What the Senate Education Committee will do is take the time to look at the process to make sure it’s the best that it can be, and do that in a public way."

The commission recently came under fire by a group of Williamson County parents who believe an approved history text is anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

The textbook was approved by the Williamson County School Board in spite of the complaints. A joint session of the legislature's Government Operations Sub-Committee addressed the controversy in June, but also chose not to make any changes.

The Textbook Commission has 10 members who recommend an official list of textbooks for approval by the State Board of Education. Local school systems tehn choose which textbooks to adopt from the list.