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Posted at 6:40 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Va. withdraws approval of textbooks

By Kevin Sieff

The Virginia Board of Education on Thursday withdrew its approval of two elementary school history textbooks, which a panel of historians found to have dozens of errors.

The Washington Post reported in October that "Our Virginia, Past and Present" a fourth-grade textbook, included a controversial assertion that thousands of African American soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War. The assertion is often made by Confederate heritage groups but is rejected by most historians. In December, a state-appointed panel of historians found dozens of additional errors in both "Our Virginia" and "Our America to 1865," which is used by students in the fifth and sixth grades in some Virginia districts. Both books are published by Five Ponds Press.

On Thursday, the Board of Education also ordered a review by experts of any other approved textbooks published by Five Ponds Press. The company currently has four world history books which are approved for use in the state's classrooms. Those books passed the state's textbook review process, in which panels of reviewers, often elementary school teachers, verified that the books cover each of the Standards of Learning themes. Experts in particular subject matters also sometimes review books.

Earlier this month, Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria) introduced legislation that would require publishers to vet textbooks with independent experts before submitting them to the state.

The Board of Education also ordered the state superintendent to present in a "detailed proposal to revise the Board’s process for approving textbooks for purchase by school divisions to ensure that all textbooks approved are factually accurate, incorporating in such proposal a process for prior certification by publishers that each textbook submitted for approval has been reviewed for factual accuracy by qualified experts in the subject matter."

INTERACTIVE: Correct the errors in these Virginia texbooks

By Kevin Sieff  | January 13, 2011; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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Comments

The Virginia DOE simply needs to collect all these error ridden textbooks and sell them to Texas.

Posted by: waxtraxs | January 13, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE
This article about history textbooks in Virginia schools incorrectly said that the state Board of Education had withdrawn its approval of two elementary school textbooks that historians say contain numerous errors. Instead, the board directed the state superintendent of public instruction to create a process to determine whether the books should be removed from the state-approved list.

Correct the errors in this article

1. Is the wrong answer:

A. The VA Board of Education has withdrawn its approval of two elementary school textbooks

B. The VA Board of Education directed the state superintendent of public instruction to create a process to determine whether the books should be removed from the state-approved list

C. The VA Board of Education is a large inept bureaucracy.

D. The Washington Post is completely in the dark about Civil War history.

The only wrong answer is A. That would be the one the Post reported!

2. Is the wrong answer:

A. Thousands of African American soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War.

B. Tens of thousands of African American soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War

C. The VA Board of Education is a large inept bureaucracy.

D. The Washington Post is completely in the dark about Civil War history.

The only wrong answer is B. The Post claims “a fourth-grade textbook, included a controversial assertion that thousands of African American soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War. The assertion is often made by Confederate heritage groups but is rejected by most historians.” In fact, the few historians who know anything about the subject argue that there were not TENS of thousands of African Americans serving in the Confederate ranks. There were, however, several thousand who did.

When celebrating the discovery of real or imagined factual errors, it's best not to create your own errors.

Posted by: ChesDead | January 15, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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