Interfaith Alliance Urges Textbook Publishers to Reject Texas Standards

Organization Taking Action To Ensure Board Vote Doesn’t Impact All School Children


WASHINGTON, DC – In a move to counter recent changes in school textbooks approved by the Texas State Board of Education (Texas SBOE), Interfaith Alliance today sent a letter to top publishing companies urging them to reject the Texas standards and maintain the factual integrity of their textbooks that are utilized by the majority of school districts across the country.  Since Texas is such a major client of textbook publishers, Interfaith Alliance is concerned that the Texas SOBE-approved edits would be included in textbooks used by other states as well, as publishers look to maintain their cost efficiency. 


“We do not take lightly the changes approved by the Texas SBOE, and at this point we are working to ensure that other children across the country are not taught an inaccurate history of our country,” said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance and author of the letter sent to the publishing companies.  “We understand that textbooks will not be uniform, but it simply is incorrect to state we are a Christian nation founded upon and governed by Christian beliefs.  Unfortunately, this is just one of multiple inaccuracies that will now be included in Texas textbooks.”


Gaddy is referring to the many amendments voted on at a Texas SBOE meeting March 11, 2010.  Along with the “Christian nation” language, a Christian conservative bloc of the Board also voted to incorporate the study of the right to bear arms (the Second Amendment) in the curriculum on First Amendment rights and free expression, and to remove Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum that covers the Enlightenment period.  Equally as important as these votes, the Texas SBOE also struck down an amendment that articulated “the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”  The Texas SBOE felt that the Founders did not intend for the nation to have separation of church and state.


 “The Texas SBOE members certainly are entitled to believe whatever they want about our country and its history,” Gaddy continued.  “The problem arises when their religious beliefs begin to essentially rewrite history for our children.  Separation of church and state was a core tenet of our nation’s founding.  Whether you like him or not, Thomas Jefferson was a leading thinker during the Enlightenment.  It’s almost unfathomable to think that Texas schoolchildren won’t learn these basic facts now. We urge the publishers to ensure that other children still will.”


In the letter sent to the publishing companies, Rev. Gaddy offers, “Should you need our support in resisting this pressure from the Texas SBOE to replace American history with conservative ideology, we would be honored to stand by you and support your commitment to the most accurate educational materials possible.”  The edits to the Texas textbooks will be finalized by a vote of the Texas School Board of Education in May.

Below is the letter that was sent to executives of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.  Identical letters were sent to executives of the McGraw-Hill and Pearson companies.

Download the full letter here


Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit




Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit