ABSTRACT

Apart from social studies teachers around the country who use the textbooks this book is about, few people may recall how controversial these books were when they came up for adoption during the summer and fall of 1990 in California. History textbooks seem to occupy a place in education that is similar to tradi­ tional religion’s sacred books. Because they represent our past and the cultural heritage we transmit to our children, the question of whose story gets told has always been a delicate question of critical importance, as the annals of U.S. pub­ lic education readily testify, and never moreso than now. The new Social Studies Program being considered by California certainly came to fit that pattern. Over the decades such controversies have largely become institutionalized rituals regu­ lated by states, generally in the concluding stages of curriculum reform.