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Virginia Votes to Revamp Textbook Approvals

The state board of education in Virginia has approved an overhaul of its textbook-approval process after officials recently discovered a raft of errors in two elementary-level history books, according to the Associated Press.

For background on the situation, see this post, and this one.

The board today agreed to install more safeguards in the review process, the story explains. It now will place the primary burden on publishers to ensure the accuracy of textbooks for which they seek state approval. In addition, the publishers would have to certify that all textbooks had been reviewed for accuracy by at least three qualified subject-matter experts. And they must detail the internal quality-control procedures they use for factual accuracy, as well as spelling and grammar.

I'll highlight one of the many problems identified, since it ties in with the Civil War, a popular theme for me this week! A 4th grade book being used in some Virginia classrooms, called Our Virginia: Past and Present, from Five Ponds Press, includes a contention, widely disputed by historians, that thousands of blacks took arms on behalf of the Confederacy.

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