ERIC Number: ED441731
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
History Textbooks at the New Century: A Report of the American Textbook Council.
Sewall, Gilbert T.
The American Textbook Council identified the nation's leading social studies textbooks based on estimated volume of sales and on adoptions in California, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, and New York. Three multi-volume elementary-level programs and about a dozen secondary-level history textbooks command the market. The history textbooks at the new century exhibit supercharged graphics and reduced text, and the diversity movement realized in these textbooks is often big, pervasive, and serious in its intention "to alter school history." Special evaluations were conducted in December 1998 and July 1999 at the University of California at Santa Barbara Learning Resources Display Center. The Council commissioned reviews by teachers, textbook experts, and historians. The three main conclusions of this study of leading elementary- and secondary-level history textbooks are that currently: (1) gutted textbooks and the passing of close reading as a central learning activity pose profound challenges to literacy and habits of thought; (2) editorial confusion reigns in the subject of history; (3) content is thinner and thinner and is increasingly deformed by identity politics and group pieties; and (4) publishers should be producing cheaper books that are more text-centered, simpler in design, and more honest in content. (Includes 18 footnotes and a checklist for reviewing textbooks.) (BT)
Descriptors: Content Analysis, Elementary Secondary Education, History, History Instruction, Social Studies, Textbook Content, Textbook Evaluation, Textbook Research
American Textbook Council, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 448, New York, NY 10115 ($10 including shipping). Tel: 212-870-2760; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Textbook Council, New York, NY.