Mom who called out textbook publisher talks to ABC-13

PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) -- We have a follow up on a story we first brought you Saturday that is going viral. A Pearland mother called out a text book publisher over descriptions about slavery.

It's a textbook case of David versus Goliath, and we know who won that battle.

In this case, David is Roni Dean-Burren, an educator and PhD candidate, specializing in education curriculum, whose son saw something that got his attention, and hers, in his 9th grade geography textbook.

He saw a caption on a map explaining immigration patterns to the U.S. in early years, which stated that African slaves were essentially agricultural workers.

"I texted my mom a picture of the passage and sent a sarcastic message saying, 'we worked real hard didn't we?'" said Cobi Burren.

His mother turned to Facebook, posting a video showing her flipping through pages. She calls the reference to slavery "erasure" of history. The response to her post made some history of its own.

It went viral, soliciting comments from across the country and beyond. Friday, one day later, publishing giant McGraw Hill announced it would revise the digital version of the textbook, to include the fact that African slaves were used as forced slave labor, eliminating the earlier version that described them as workers.

For Dean-Burren, that's not an acceptable solution.

"A lot of schools don't use digital versions, and we know this textbook is going to sit in schools eight to ten years -- and are we OK with that," claimed Dean-Burren.

Now, she's turning her attention to other textbooks.

"I want to see how they treat the history of native Americans, women's history," she said. "All of these stories, I'm really wondering how they're being told in history. This is the first step. What does the U.S. history book look like?"

Texas holds hearings on textbook adoption every few years. Roni Dean-Burren says she would be glad to be on a panel vetting books to put into classrooms. By that time, she will have PhD to put on her resume.
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