AUSTIN, Texas – An exhaustive review of the proposed social studies textbooks to be considered by the State Board of Education has found more than 500 factual errors, and hundreds of additional problems with insufficient discussion of key people, places and events. The complete listing of factual errors will be submitted to the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday, June 10, 2002.

The complete review, commissioned by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and performed by sixteen classroom teachers and college professors, is available online at

Some examples of factual errors found in the TPPF review include:

  • A textbook states that Rosa Parks took a seat in the middle section of the bus where both African-American and Whites were allowed to sit. In fact, there was no shared or integrated seating on buses; Whites sat in the front of the bus and African-Americans sat at the back if there were enough seats for Whites. Rosa Parks took a seat in the front of the “colored section” of the bus and was asked to move to the back. Her refusal to give her seat up sparked a boycott against segregated busing.
  • A textbook states that John Marshall was the first Supreme Court Chief Justice. In fact, John Jay was the first Supreme Court Justice.
  • A textbook states that Matthew Perry “convinced” Japan to open trade relations with the United States. In fact, Matthew Perry’s “persuasion” was the armed navy that threatened to invade Japan if the nation did not agree to open commerce.

Additionally, TPPF reviewers were concerned with the insufficient information about important people, places, dates, and events – the history that teachers and scholars believe Texans need to know. Some examples included:

  • A textbook describes William Jennings Bryan as a “lawyer and politician” who was a pacifist and advocate of neutrality during World War I. Student understanding of history and the importance of William Jennings Bryan would be better served if the textbook portrayed him as the U.S. Secretary of State between 1913 and 1915 who resigned over President Wilson’s militaristic response to the sinking of the Lusitania.
  • A textbook describes the role played by Japan in World War II but does not identify the reasons why Japan entered the war. The textbook does not describe the economic depression in Japan, population pressures, social tensions and the influence of the military in Japanese culture.
  • A textbook states that the Preamble of the Constitution authorizes the national government to ensure that citizens will be free from poverty, hunger, and disease. The textbook should provide information about the Framers beliefs about government’s responsibility for the “general welfare” of the people. James Madison, for example, defined it as those powers enumerated in the Constitution and stated that “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”