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Back to Feb. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 229 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS FEBRUARY 2005

In Memoriam: Mel Gabler, Textbook Reformer

Mel and Norma Gabler
Mel Gabler, 89, of Longview, TX died December 19, leaving a legacy of more than 40 years of positive influence on American elementary and secondary school textbooks.

With his wife, Norma, he founded the non-profit Educational Research Analysts as a clearinghouse for factual errors and left-wing bias in public school textbooks. They frequently traveled to Austin, TX to testify before the state board of education and confront publishers with their objections. They backed the successful effort in late 2004 to force textbook publishers to define marriage as a life-long union between a man and a woman instead of referring generically to "married partners." (See Education Reporter, Dec. 2004.)

Because Texas is the second-largest textbook market in the U.S., publishers often make their Texas books the template for the rest of the country, so a Gabler objection carried nationwide implications. The Gablers also spread the word by doing lectures across the country, calling radio stations, using direct mail, writing a book called What Are They Teaching Our Children? and media appearances — all without benefit of college degrees.

In 1992, Texas fined publishers about $1 million for hundreds of errors the Gablers found in 10 American history books already approved by publishers and the state. In 1973, the Gablers memorably asked why Marilyn Monroe received six pages in a history book while George Washington got only a few paragraphs. "We're not quite ready for Marilyn Monroe as the mother of our country," quipped Norma.

"If you want a model for 'what the little guy can do,' begin with the Gablers," wrote columnist Gary North in a tribute to the deceased. (LewRockwell.com, 12-22-04)


 
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