When in doubt, seek Rocha out
December 6, 2006
If you’re going to publish a textbook on Nevada, it’s a good idea to run it by the experts before printing.
That’s the word from state Historian and Archivist Guy Rocha regarding the textbook “Nevada: A Journey of Discovery,” which was used as a supplemental text last year in Dayton schools, but somehow doesn’t mention Dayton.
Rocha defended the author, Michael Green, a professor at the Community College of Southern Nevada, but admitted the publishers failed to find a local expert to vet the manuscript to make sure it is accurate.
Rocha blamed the combination of the author being a Southern Nevadan and the publishing company failing to vet manuscripts with regional experts.
Rocha has worked with the publisher, Gibbs Smith of Salt Lake City, and said the draft of the reprint will be changed to accurately reflect Dayton’s importance to the state’ s history.
“He was not aware of the Dayton-Genoa controversy,” Rocha said. “I have seen the draft of the reprint with changes, and it will reflect Dayton.”
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Green has a doctorate from Columbia University, Rocha said, and was a journalist in the Las Vegas area for many years.
“When you were writing textbooks in the past, Northern Nevadans wrote them, and the south was overlooked,” he said.
Rocha praised the fourth-grade history text, “Nevada: Our Home,” for doing a good job representing Dayton, but admitted it had a few errors, too. He was a consultant on that book, but didn’t see the manuscript before printing, and found the changes he had suggested weren’t made.
He praised both books for layout and photography, but criticized the content management.
Rocha has been in contact with the textbook’s publisher and said they’re really trying to get it right.
“I think they made a good effort, and then things slipped and now they’re being held accountable for it,” he said. “They’ve done better than many others, but they have to do better.
Rocha said regional experts on history should get a chance to vet the books before publication.
“Someone needs to vet these manuscripts, and it can’t be one of their people and it can’t be the authors,” he said. “It’s got to be one of our people, independent of who wrote the book.”
The whole controversy reminds me of a situation a few years ago when a grade-school history text explained, “Virginia City is a ghost town, and nobody lives there anymore.” The out-of-state publisher sent these books to Virginia City – where a ghost must have picked up the mail.
The book was rejected by the local school board.
I guess there aren’t any Northern Nevadans out there writing history books.
Silver City has two new members on its three-person town board: Larry Wahrenbrock and Gayle Sherman.
Actually, Wahrenbrock has served before, but decided that his turn had apparently rolled around again.
Former board member Tamara Brunet said that in such a small community, everyone serves at least once, then eventually they get called up again.
Silver City even grooms its kids to serve.
“When they’re 10, we encourage them, and by the time it’s their turn, they’ll already know the Robbers Rules of Order,” she said.
Maybe by the time the kids of today get on the town board, they’ll have their community center, still hung up in red tape.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111, ext. 351.