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Correction to This Article
This article about history textbooks in Virginia schools incorrectly said that the state Board of Education had withdrawn its approval of two elementary school textbooks that historians say contain numerous errors. Instead, the board directed the state superintendent of public instruction to create a process to determine whether the books should be removed from the state-approved list.

Virginia Board of Education withdraws approval of two history textbooks

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 10:31 PM

The Virginia Board of Education on Thursday withdrew its approval of two elementary school history textbooks that a panel of historians found to have dozens of errors.

The Washington Post reported in October that "Our Virginia, Past and Present," a fourth-grade textbook, included a controversial assertion that thousands of African American soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War.

In December, a state-appointed panel of historians found dozens of additional errors in "Our Virginia" and "Our America to 1865," which is used by students in the fifth and sixth grades in some Virginia districts. Both books are published by Five Ponds Press.

Despite the withdrawal of approval, a school system that uses the books does not have to stop doing so. The education board also ordered a review by experts of any other approved textbooks published by Five Ponds Press. The company has four world history books that are approved for use in the state's classrooms.

The Board of Education also ordered the state superintendent to present a "detailed proposal to revise the Board's process for approving textbooks for purchase by school divisions to ensure that all textbooks approved are factually accurate."


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