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Textbook Controversy Collection, 1981-1992

22 folders

MSS 92


This collection consists of testimony, position papers, book reviews, clippings, and other papers collected by Boise State University Library staff during three textbook selection controversies in Idaho.

The first occured in 1981, when Leah Coash of Cascade, Idaho, challenged state textbook adoption policies and what she described as a Humanist bias in Idaho textbooks. The items were collected by David Baldwin, who was head of the Library’s Curriculum Resource Center at the time and a member of the state’s textbook selection committee. A biographical sketch of Leah Coash from the Idaho Statesman and some letters to the editor by her have been added.

The second and third controversies took place in 1989 and 1990. These items were collected by Anne L. Matjeka, David Baldwin’s successor as head of the Curriculum Resource Center. She served on the textbook selection committee during these two controversies. In 1989 the committee considered adoption of the biology text, Of Pandas and People (Haughton Publishing Company). Although the issue did not become public, there was debate within the committee. Anne Matjeka opposed adoption of the book chiefly because of its Creationist interpretation, and she collected critical reviews to distribute to fellow committee members. The collection contains those materials, plus correspondence and clippings from Alabama, where the consideration of the textbook created heated public controversy.

The third controversy arose when and Dr. Ronald Hunter, pastor of the Coeur d’Alene Church of the Nazarene, leading the group known as Citizens for Quality Education, petitioned the state and the Coeur d’Alene school district to rescind adoption of the Impressions reading series published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. They maintained that the books contained too much violence, negativity, anti-Christian bias, and empahsis on witchcraft and the occult. The collection contains the group’s commentary on the books, plus other opinions as well.

The papers relating to the 1981 controversy were transferred to the Special Collections Department by Ralph W. Hansen, Associate University Librarian, in 1989 (Accession 89-17). The 1989 and 1990 materials were presented to Special Collections by Anne L. Matjeka in 1997 (Accession 97-31). They were processed by Alan Virta in 1989 and 1997.


Folder List


Series 1: 1981

Folder 1   The Textbook Cover-up, by Leah Coash (booklet) (1981)

Folder 2   Presentation to the State Board of Education by Leah Coash

Folder 3   Proposed amendment to Idaho textbook adoption law. Defines Humanism as a religion.

Folder 4   "Humanist Manifesto II" from The Humanist (Sept-Oct 1973)

Folder 5   Miscellaneous, including statements from the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom

Folder 6   Clippings about Leah Coash (1989-92)



Series 2: 1989: Of Pandas and People

Folder 7   Matjeka, Anne L.

Folder 8   Scott, Eugenie: Reviews

Folder 9   Brande, Scott (Alabama): Review and clippings

Folder 10 Reviews by scientists and educators (Idaho)

Folder 11 Miscellaneous


Series 3: 1990: Impressions

Folder 12 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Folder 13 Citizens for Quality Education

Folder 14 Citizens for Quality Education

Folder 15 Citizens for Quality Education

Folder 16 Ellis, Loren: Letter, with review by Focus on the Family

Folder 17 Henry, Randa: Testimony

Folder 18 Hunter, Ronald: Testimony

Folder 19 Llewellyn, David L., Jr.: Article

Folder 20 News clippings

Folder 21 Miscellaneous

Folder 22 Textbook rating sheets

Special Collections • 1910 University Drive • Boise, ID 83725-1430 • Phone: 208-426-1204 • Email: Archives