A friend e-mailed this article from the local paper:
Six publishers submitted drafts of their textbooks to the TEA hoping to get in line for selection of the next generation of math books that will be used in Texas public schools next fall.
One publisher, Houghton Mifflin, left more than 86,000 errors in books, 79 percent of the total.
Not that Houghton Mifflin was alone; in the six 109,263 errors were found.
Much has said about the committee which chooses textbooks for Texas schools – and little of it good. Much has also been said about the competing ways in which the big buyers (California and Texas) affect these texts. For instance, the Gabler’s power was mythic. While these competing forces may have watered down the texts (all claiming, of course, to do the opposite), these policies would seem less likely to affect math texts. I suspect this quantity of mistakes reflects a lack of respect for the discipline – that often seems true in literature. Of course, it doesn’t respect teachers who choose among the final six, nor students learning these skills.
I work in a fuzzier area; some biographical facts are wrong, but don’t go to the core of our work. Of course, a silly bias often permeates the introductions. Norton is much better than its competitors; still it claims immigration in the nineteenth and early twentieth century was because large manufacturers wanted willing workers to keep salaries down. Somehow they manage to ignore the lure of land, the desire to get away from oppressive & class-ridden societies, the freedoms offered here. Their statement isn’t false, however; it merely indicates a politicized & ill-informed primacy. Fortunately, the literature they include is argument enough – Willa Cather’s My Antonia demonstrates not just how hard it was for immigrants but why they were willing to take on those hardships and, ultimately, how many became successful in their new land.