Letter to Newsweek, 2/10/01, Comment on the "Textbook Error" Researchers

I was surprised that you had the Texas textbook censors Mel and Norma Gabler in a recent Newsweek, recasting themselves as textbook fact checkers. While they are correct that there are plenty of errors in textbooks, many of them were caused by state-approveded censors like the Gablers. When textbook publishers have to spend much of their time rewriting textbooks to satisfy the people who think that Genesis is science, keeping the facts straight becomes less important than "political correctness." I'll never forgot the Phil Donahue Show in 1978 when Norma Gabler said that To Kill a Mockingbird was inappropriate to be read in the classroom because "Scout was disrespectful to her father." We don't need people who lack critical thinking skills to be revising textbooks. We need people who understand that presenting history and science and fine literature with all their gory details is more important than catering to the wishes of special interest groups.

I would appreciate a little better research on the part of writers for Newsweek, and a little less taking a story at face value.

Laurie D. T. Mann
Pittsburgh, PA