Before final vote, public to comment on controversial Mexican-American textbook

Hearing Tuesday over controversial textbook

AUSTIN - Protesters are expected to converge in Downtown Austin Tuesday morning. And they won't be there to protest President-elect Donald Trump. They're set to protest a controversial textbook that they say is riddled with factual errors and has racist undertones.

After the protest, set to begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Texas Education Agency building, State Board of Education members will hear public comments on the textbook called "Mexican American Heritage."

It won't be the first protest over the book. In September, hundreds gathered to urge the board to reject the book for the 2017 school year.

A review of the book found 68 factual errors, 42 "interpretive errors" and 31 "omission errors." The book's critics highlight passages such as "Stereotypically, Mexicans were viewed as lazy compared to European or American workers” and “It was also traditional to skip work on Mondays, and drinking on the job could be a problem."

The publisher said the book was the only submission received for the subject area -- and one the current board didn't ask for.

The board's power to control textbooks was stripped in 2011 after battles over creationism. Now, the board can only recommend books.

After Tuesday's public hearing, the board will take an informal vote Wednesday followed by a final vote on the issue Friday. If they decide to keep the textbook, it will then be up to school districts to decide whether they will use it in their classrooms.

The board meets at 9 a.m. but the textbook issue and public testimony are last on the agenda.

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