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The Brief: Nov. 18, 2014

A new controversy could crop up this week as the State Board of Education is expected to adopt new social studies textbooks.

State Board of Education Vice Chair Thomas Ratliff leafs through binders at the meeting listing proposed changes to Texas textbooks in a SBOE meeting in Austin on Monday, October 20, 2014 .Textbook publishers were invited to meeting where public concerns regarding their textbooks were discussed.

The Big Conversation

A new controversy could crop up this week as the State Board of Education is expected to adopt new social studies textbooks.

The Tribune's Morgan Smith reports this could be due to the actions of a grassroots group that has lodged numerous complaints relatively late in the approval process. "The Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition, all but unheard from for months while new social studies textbooks and instructional materials were being vetted, submitted a 469-page report in late October identifying more than 1,500 'factual errors, omission of facts, half-truths and agenda biases' in proposed materials," Smith wrote.

And here's some background on the group's founder:

"The group was formed by retired Lt. Col. Roy White, a Tea Party activist who also leads the Bexar County Chapter of ACT! for America, an organization dedicated to fighting extremist Islam," Smith wrote. "Its founder, Brigitte Gabriel, is known for her views that Muslims in the United States pose a danger to national security."

In other SBOE news, four textbook publishers have removed information from textbooks on climate change that science reviewers had found to be inaccurate, per a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The SBOE meets today with a preliminary vote expected today as well. A final vote would happen on Friday.

The Day Ahead

•    Join us for a special TribLive Happy Hour panel discussion assessing Gov. Rick Perry’s legacy, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the patio at El Arroyo in Austin. The conversation, moderated by the Tribune's Jay Root, will not be livestreamed, but you can click here to RSVP for the event.

Trib Must-Reads

Texas' Emptiest County Filling Up with Oil Workers, by Alana Rocha, Aman Batheja and Ivan Pierre Aguirre

Consultants Get a Cut of State Incentive Deals, by Aman Batheja

Power Grid Operator: EPA Climate Plan Would Raise Costs, by Jim Malewitz

Sen. Perry Files Sanctuary Cities Legislation, by Julián Aguilar

Hegar Announces Key Hires at Comptroller's Office, by Aman Batheja


Getting to 'yes' just the beginning in oil field linkup, Houston Chronicle

McCrum found not in contempt of court, San Antonio Express-News

Did the voter ID law affect turnout in Central Texas?, Austin American-Statesman

Texas asks feds to fund pre-K vouchers, Houston Chronicle

Health Care Law Recasts Insurers as Obama Allies, The New York Times

State lawmakers press Boehner on online sales tax, The Hill

Pricey pen picked up by incoming AG Ken Paxton returned after months of mystery, The Dallas Morning News

Quote to Note

“Are you really trying to improve the textbooks, or are you trying to stage an ambush?”

— State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, questioning a group's last-minute objections to new social studies textbooks.

Today in TribTalk

How to fix property taxes: Get rid of them, by Talmadge Heflin

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Reps. Myra Crownover, Tan Parker and Ron Simmons on Dec. 1 at Texas Woman's University in Denton

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dec. 4 at The Austin Club

•    The Texas Tribune Festival presents a one-day symposium previewing the 84th Legislature on Dec. 5 at the Austin Community College Highland Campus in Austin

•    A Panel Discussion on the Transformation of Medical Education in Texas, on Dec. 9 at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio.

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Energy Environment Politics Public education Glenn Hegar Ken Paxton Rick Perry