From corporate sponsorships of school programs, it was only a short step to their involvement in textbooks. Here is an interesting article in today’s Christian Science Monitor:
“What if a junior-high school textbook wrongly stated that John Marshall was the United States’ first Supreme Court Chief Justice, instead of John Jay? Or that the Louisiana Purchase occurred in 1804, not 1803? No one would fault textbook publishers for fixing factual errors like these found in recent textbooks. But, when it comes to “fixing” harder to define social or political biases, what happens when publishers eager to make a sale are willing to edit content that special-interest groups object to — or even submit their books to those groups for input prior to publication?
The practice of self censorship is increasingly apparent here in Texas, where battles over textbook content are epic. (…)
The lobbying roster of 70 speakers [at the public hearings over 2003 social studies texts] included Hispanic college students and the NAACP wanting more minorities and women represented in textbooks, Christian groups seeking more conservative interpretations of issues, and social-studies teachers arguing against such tinkering. (…) Conservatives over the years have battled such things as a photo of a woman carrying a briefcase, the theory of evolution, and “overkill of emphasis on cruelty to slaves.””