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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction


This study explored censorship in the public schools through the analysis of the changing textbook adoption criteria of the twenty-two adoption states to determine if new, subtle challenges of censorship suggest previously undiscovered effects on the established school curriculum. Adoption criteria (1975-76 and 1985-86) from the twenty-two adoption states were requested. State statutes were also reviewed. A content analysis focusing on the specified criteria needed for text adoption and the amount of public participation in the adoption process was conducted. It was found that few requirements have been added to the textbook adoption criteria since 1975 although some changes have occurred. Nineteen states have some type of specified criteria either in their state statues or state board of education policies. Sixteen states include some aspect of public participation in their textbook adoption process. Conclusions are: (1) The term "state adoption state" is ambiguous and the states comprising that group are not well-defined; (2) There is little consistency in the expectations for texts and the degree of public involvement in these states' adoption process; (3) Additional specified criteria appear to be being added as state board of education policy rather than state statutes; and (4) More public participation is occurring in 1985 than did in 1975 and is happening in a variety of ways. Recommendations include: (1) "State adoption state" should be precisely defined in future study and a poll of all states taken to actually determine which states should be so labeled; (2) States with specified criteria for text adoption should review them for nebulous guidelines and provide standards for evaluation. States without criteria should review their adoption process to assess what is happening in practice; (3) Where oral testimony is accepted as part of the adoption process, written testimony should be included; (4) Textbook reviewers should receive training about state expectations before review process; (5) A pro-active stance on making the public aware of the textbook adoption process could occur if the adoption states form a public awareness coalition. Censorship awareness programs could be provided by the state for local districts; (6) Study of the textbook adoption process should continue with regards to censorship.



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