Norma Gabler, Leader of Crusade on Textbooks, Dies at 84

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Norma Gabler, a Texas homemaker who recoiled at material in her children’s textbooks and became the public face of a crusade with her husband to rid schoolbooks of content they considered antifamily, anti-American and anti-God, died on July 22 in Phoenix. She was 84....

From its origins at the Gablers’ kitchen table in Hawkins, Tex., in 1961 to its incorporation as Educational Research Analysts in 1973, the mom-and-pop textbook-criticism enterprise grew to occupy a prominent niche in the nation’s conservative pantheon. For more than four decades, the couple influenced what children read, not just in Texas but around the country....

The Gablers had a two-barreled strategy: in addition to pressing issues of ideology, interpretation and philosophy, the Gablers ferreted out errors of fact. In 2001, Time magazine reported that their “scroll of shame” of textbook mistakes since 1961 was 54 feet long. In the early 1990s, Texas fined publishers about $1 million for failing to remove hundreds of factual errors the Gablers had found in 11 history books.

An example: A textbook said that Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina had supported the tariff of 1816. He opposed it.

But the Gablers’ most important battles concerned bigger issues, like making publishers define marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman.

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