Houston mayor asks state leaders to reject 'offensive' text book

Book disseminates inaccuracies, stereotypes, mayor says

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called on state education leaders Tuesday to reject a textbook being considered for the upcoming school year, calling the book offensive.

In a news release, Turner said he read the textbook published by Momentum Instruction, called "Mexican American Heritage," and his objection is based not only on his own observations, but on reviews from history and Mexican-American studies experts.

The book has been the subject of debate since samples of the instruction material being considered by the Texas State Board of Education were released earlier this year.

"The purpose of instructional material is not to undermine our educational system, to push an ideological agenda or to disseminate inaccuracies, stereotypes and errors about our collective history," Turner said.

As an example of the book’s slant on history, Turner cites a paragraph on page 248. It reads:

“Industrialists were very driven, competitive men who were always on the clock and continually concerned about efficiency. They were used to their workers putting in a full day’s work, quietly and obediently, and respecting rules, authority, and property. In contrast, Mexican laborers were not reared to put in a full day’s work so vigorously. There was a cultural attitude of ‘mañana,’ or ‘tomorrow,’ when it came to high-gear production.”

File: Mexican American History sample submitted to TEA

"It is unbelievable that such a hateful stereotype appears in a textbook for Texas students," Turner said. "Politicized, prejudicial, erroneous textbooks must not be used as instructional materials for students. It is important for us to understand that Mexican-American culture is a vital and vibrant part of the United States’ rich and diverse culture and history."

Turner urged state leaders to adopt a different textbook that focuses on and celebrates the cultural and historical contributions that Mexican-Americans and Hispanics have made to the United States.

"We have the unique opportunity to develop a world-class textbook on Mexican-American studies created by academic and professional experts," Turner said. "Reject this purported textbook, and offer one that is scholarly, historical and accurate to educate all students about our nation’s rich history."

The Texas State Board of Education is set to review the book this fall.

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