Board rejects controversial Mexican heritage textbook for now

AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) -- In a preliminary vote, the State Board of Education said it would not adopt a high school textbook that has stirred controversy across the state.

Some parents complained the book "Mexican American Heritage" is insulting because it refers to Mexicans as "lazy" compared to American and European workers.

ORIGINAL STORY: Protesters rally against 'Mexican American Heritage' textbook

Momentum Instruction, LLC, the company that planned on publishing the textbook said it is the most "attacked" textbook in the history of the State Board of Education.
The company said the textbook was being unfairly attacked because it had not gone through its revision and editing process.

RELATED: Controversial 'Mexican American Heritage' textbook at center of fight

At present, the company said the book is error-free, contrary to comments from some board members.

Dozens of Houstonians traveled to Austin on Tuesday to urge the board to reject the textbook's adoption.

The book can still go to print as it is, and the publisher can try to sell it to individual school districts, but it likely will not have the stamp of approval from the Texas State Board of Education.

SBOE Chair Donna Boahorich said the board does not have confidence the book is without error based on testimony from experts in the field.

"We don't have the confidence that the errors, the numerous errors, that were pointed out have been addressed properly," Boahorich said, "And for us to approve it, we need to be convinced it's error-free."

Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said the board made the right call.

"I think we should have a multitude and a variety of resources that our students should have access to, but I think those resources should be accurate," Carranza said, "And they should be free of stereotypes, and they should be good content."

Dr. Emilio Zamora is one of about 26 scholars who reviewed the book at the request of the board. He said he felt the publisher, Cynthia Dunbar of Momentum Instruction, dismissed their findings of error.

"The people who put this book together didn't know the literature in Mexican American history, Mexican history," Zamora said, "They were more knowledgable about American history and even European history, I'll give them credit for that, but they even committed errors across all those fields."

Dunbar has not responded to requests for interviews Wednesday afternoon but spoke to Eyewitness News Tuesday in defense of her book.

"Even those that clearly weren't errors, we still took those comments and tried to add content or add viewpoints or make little editorial changes to the text," Dunbar said.

The board will take a final vote Friday regarding whether or not to approve Mexican American Heritage for use in Texas schools.

The board could finalize their preliminary vote on Friday.

RELATED: Houstonians travel to Austin to take on textbook
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