The Brief: Top Texas News for Mar 26, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION

The mouse that roared? When it comes to textbooks, all Texas can say, is well, squeak, squeak.

During the intense national attention on the recent State Board of Education meeting, which included a spot on The Colbert Report and reports in The New York Times, media has repeated over and over that, because of its size, Texas has undue influence over textbooks across the country. There's just one problem with the narrative: That hasn't been true since the mid-90s.

As the Tribune's Brian Thevenot reports:

Though Texas has been painted in scores of media reports as the big dog that wags the textbook industry tail, that’s simply no longer true — and will become even less true in the future, as technological advances and political shifts transform the marketplace, said Jay Diskey, executive director of the Association of American Publishers. Diskey calls the persistent reports of Texas dominating the market an “urban myth.” Yet the myth persists.

...Rather than tailoring history books to Texas, then trying to peddle them nationwide, publishers today will start with a core national narrative and edit to suit the sensitivities and curriculum standards of various states and districts, said David Anderson, an industry lobbyist, former publishing sales executive and Texas Education Agency curriculum director. 

In case any one still believes that where Texas goes with its education standards, so goes the nation, take a look at California. A state senator there says after he heard about the recent, controversial changes to make the Texas curriculum focus more on conservative history, he’s proposing legislation to keep Texas textbooks out of the Golden State.

CULLED

• Show me the crime drop! Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White has accused Gov. Rick Perry of inflating the decrease in border crimes. While Perry frequently says in speeches and ads that there's been a 65 percent drop during his tenure, the White campaign pointed to Department of Public Safety numbers, which show total crime rates in the 14 Texas counties bordering Mexico dropped 3.1 percent between 2005 and 2008. According to Perry's team, the 65 percent comes from temporary crime drops in certain areas during so-called "border surge" operations, like Operation Border Star and Operation Linebacker. Oh. Well, that explains it?

• It's a ... big deal! Vice President Joe Biden will headline a Dallas fundraiser this afternoon to raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The event is effectively a makeup for a January gala that was canceled afer the earthquake in Haiti. If you're in the area, drop by, but be prepared to leave poorer — it costs $10,000 to "sponsor" the event.

"We have seen here no evidence of any on-the-ground resources from Gov. Perry,” says state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso. “We have seen TV clips.”

MUST READ

Challenger White steers middle course in bid to unseat PerryThe Dallas Morning News

41 inmates break out of jail in Mexican border cityFort Worth Star-Telegram

Dallas ISD trustees' textbook decision sparks uproarThe Dallas Morning News

Barely Speaking — The Texas Tribune

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