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Back to September Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 260 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS SEPTEMBER 2007

R.I.P. Norma Gabler: A Legend

Norma Gabler, who with her husband Mel challenged inaccuracy and bias in textbooks beginning in 1961, died on July 22nd. The Gablers became an amazing example of what just two people can do, taking on huge publishers and bringing serious problems with their books to the attention of Texas decision-makers. Since the Texas state board of education chooses books for the entire state, Texas is the second-largest textbook market in the country after California. This fact helped the Gablers to influence textbook content and selection nationwide, since publishers were often willing to amend mistakes rather than lose the important Texas market.

Norma and Mel first became involved with textbooks when they noticed that a history textbook omitted the words "under God" from the Gettysburg Address. They began searching through other books and found a shocking number of factual errors and examples of liberal bias. Soon they were traveling annually to Austin to let the state board and others know about problems in the books. They incorporated their effort formally as Educational Research Analysts in 1973.

By 2001, they had compiled a 54-foot long "scroll of shame" of mistakes in textbooks. In 1992, Texas fined publishers nearly $1 million for hundreds of errors the Gablers had found in ten U.S. history books.

Educational Research Analysts' work will go on under the capable leadership of longtime textbook reviewer Neal Frey. Their website (www.textbookreviews.org) provides the latest textbook reviews and ratings, and standard review criteria.


 
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