"The Revisionaries" documentary is available for viewing online at the PBS Video website through Feb. 27.
On KERA, here are showtimes to watch or record:
- Today: 10 p.m.
- Wednesday: 8 a.m., 2 p.m., 7 p.m.
- Thursday: 12 a.m., 2 a.m.
- Saturday: 11 a.m.
The Texas board of education's rancorous debate over textbook standards will be the focus of a TV documentary on PBS this week. Check out the preview:
In North Texas, KERA-13 has scheduled the episode of Independent Lens to first air at 10 p.m. on Tuesday night. (By the way, the state school board meets in Austin on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Here's the agenda).
A key player in The Revisionaries is former board president Don McLeroy, described as a "dentist, Sunday school teacher, and avowed young-earth creationist" and the 15-member state board's adoption of new science and history curriculum standards in 2010.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy weighs in here.
The show's backers say that the state board's action is important because decisions about Texas textbooks have a nationwide effect.
"Texas is one of the nation's largest textbook markets because it is one of the few where the state decides what books schools can buy rather than leaving it up to local districts, which means publishers that get their books approved can count on millions of dollars in sales. Further, publishers craft their standard textbooks based on the requirements of the biggest buyers. As a result, the Texas board has the power to shape the textbooks that children around the country read for years to come," according to a post on the PBS website.
But the extent of Texas' influence on publishing has been the subject of debate. The executive director of the Association of American Publishers' school division, Jay Diskey, told the Star-Telegram that the idea that Texas standards will be forced on other states is "really an urban myth in the year 2010."
Former Star-Telegram reporter Traci Shurley wrote on March 20, 2010: "Over the past 15 years, he said, most states have asked or required publishers to align textbooks with their own state standards. Also, digital publishing has allowed the industry to customize books, not only by state but also by district."