The House rejected a proposal on Thursday to create an ombudsman within the Department of Education to review K-12 school textbooks.

Rep. Joaquín Castro's (D-Texas) amendment to the House GOP's No Child Left Behind replacement bill fell short in a 182-243 vote.


Castro argued that establishing a neutral reviewer would ensure that textbooks meet academic standards. The Texas Democrat cited recent examples of history textbooks including inaccurate information.

Under Castro's proposal, students, teachers and administrators could submit complaints to the Department of Education ombudsman. The ombudsman would not be able to undo state decisions over textbooks, but could help resolve disagreements over textbook content.

"This is somebody that would not have any authority to make binding decisions to overturn state decisions, but somebody who could help take in complaints or concerns," Castro said.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), however, said that disputes over textbooks should be left to individual states.

"States should have good textbooks for students that cover the material thoroughly, fairly, and most importantly, accurately," Rokita said. "But there is no federal role in determining what those books are or judging the quality of them, frankly. All the arguments the gentleman made can be taken care of at the state level and at the local level."

The House is working through 44 amendments to the bill Thursday and Friday. Final passage of the measure is expected Friday.