Discuss as:

Texans battle over textbooks

By Charles Hadlock, NBC News Correspondent

DALLAS – Pay attention, class.

What's going on in Austin, Texas this week is an epic battle over books that will affect what students learn in classrooms across the country and, perhaps, influence the minds of children across the country.

The Texas Board of Education is hammering out the social studies, history and economics curriculum that will go into the newest textbooks. The results will impact students from kindergarten to 12th grade for the next ten years.

VIDEO: Texas mulls removing Einstein, Armstrong from textbooks

Why should you care what goes into a textbook in Texas? Unlike most states, which allow local school districts to decide on textbooks, Texas buys the same books for the entire state, making it the largest customer for textbook publishers. So, what gets printed here often ends up in classrooms in other states.

It's a battle between liberals and conservatives. The Texas board is made up of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, who are under constant pressure from outside groups who want to influence the content of textbooks. Christian groups want more references to the religious underpinnings of our laws and government. Secularists want to banish any references to Christmas.

There have been clashes this year over how much prominence to give civil rights leader Cesar Chavez and whether too much emphasis is given to historic figures' race and ethnicity.

In the weeks of discussions, the board considered tossing out such names in history as Neil Armstrong, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.

Armstrong and Columbus are back in the textbooks. The fate of Edison and Einstein is up in the air.

Winston Churchill once wrote, "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

In Texas, politicians seem to be re-writing it.

A final vote on the new curriculum is expected in May.