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It is now rather commonplace to decry the poor quality of United States history textbooks at the university and precollegiate levels. Criticisms range from the general to the specific. While the first include such practices as "dumbing down" (that is, the rewriting of texts for a lower reading level than their intended audience should have already attained), the second focus more directly upon content. Often inspired by well-defined political agendas, these criticisms encompass issues of inclusion or omission of certain topics and the endorsement of particular values or behavior. Special-interest lobbying to change textbook content is well worth the effort, however, since American history textbooks are the single most significant source of information on many vital topics for high-school teachers as well as their students. Textbook treatments of Mexico, Mexicans and Mexican Americans are a case in point.




Society for History Education, Inc.

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The History Teacher

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