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leib10
24 Sep 10,, 23:24
Field Notes - Texas urges fix of 'pro-Islamic' textbook bias (http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/09/24/5172714-texas-urges-fix-of-pro-islamic-textbook-bias)

The Texas State Board of Education on Friday narrowly approved a resolution calling on publishers to correct a “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias” in history textbooks.

The 7-6 vote followed a spirited debate on the nonbinding resolution proposed by the board’s conservative majority aiming to correct what Dave Welch, head of the Texas Pastor Council, testified amounted to “whitewashing” of some negative aspects of Islam in the texts.

“We’re asking you to look at this very carefully,” he told the board in testifying for the resolution. “… There are problems, there are imbalances.”

But Kathy Miller, president of the liberal Texas Freedom Network, said afterward that the resolution was politically motivated.

"Board members rejected numerous opportunities today to pass a resolution that called on publishers to treat all religions with balance and accuracy in their textbooks,” she said in a statement. “It is hard not to conclude that the members who voted for this resolution were solely interested in playing on fear and bigotry in order to pit Christians against Muslims.”

It’s not clear whether the resolution will prompt textbook publishers to make immediate changes to sections devoted to Christianity and Islam.

Texas wields considerable clout in the textbook publishing world as the largest “adoption state” in the U.S., where a central body approves public school textbooks rather than individual districts.

But as msnbc.com’s Kari Huus reported earlier this week, “All board members will be up for election in 2012, and implementation of any new textbook standard would come only after that. Budgetary constraints may slow it down further. In the interim, there is discussion of requiring textbook companies to create supplements to address the new standards.”

You can learn more about the resolution and the underlying debate in her story.




I remember reading the book they have on the link to the story... it had 3 page section of the Islamic culture and religion, going on and on about the advances they made.

Roosveltrepub
24 Sep 10,, 23:43
:smack::smack::smack::smack::smack: wow

gunnut
24 Sep 10,, 23:47
I remember reading the book they have on the link to the story... it had 3 page section of the Islamic culture and religion, going on and on about the advances they made.

That's fine. Just also remind students that those were the good ol' days back in the 11th century. And make sure to mention any recent contributions made by islamic cultures.

Roosveltrepub
25 Sep 10,, 00:01
That's fine. Just also remind students that those were the good ol' days back in the 11th century. And make sure to mention any recent contributions made by islamic cultures.

I think history generally mentions dates even in Texas. I wonder how long the section on slavery in Texas is or the section on apartheid in Texas through most of the 20th century.....not that I think there was a history of racism...

leib10
25 Sep 10,, 01:01
Ah, what a fine opportunity to take a potshot at Texas... never get sick of hearing them!

Anyway, I cannot help but agree with what they decided. If one side is treated more favorably than the other, then it's time for a change, even when that side is usually the one that is treated unfavorably. And yes, our (black) teacher who used the history books mentioned in the story had us do a project on hate crimes, and didn't forget to serve us a generous helping of slavery and Jim Crow laws for dessert. As if we hadn't already been inundated with that sort of thing our entire lives.

Roosveltrepub
25 Sep 10,, 01:34
Ah, what a fine opportunity to take a potshot at Texas... never get sick of hearing them!

Anyway, I cannot help but agree with what they decided. If one side is treated more favorably than the other, then it's time for a change, even when that side is usually the one that is treated unfavorably. And yes, our (black) teacher who used the history books mentioned in the story had us do a project on hate crimes, and didn't forget to serve us a generous helping of slavery and Jim Crow laws for dessert. As if we hadn't already been inundated with that sort of thing our entire lives.

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it

kato
25 Sep 10,, 01:44
That's fine. Just also remind students that those were the good ol' days back in the 11th century.
And that contemporary Christians were sitting in drafty huts with their only concern being where to get the treebark for their next day's meal? ;)

gunnut
25 Sep 10,, 01:51
And that contemporary Christians were sitting in drafty huts with their only concern being where to get the treebark for their next day's meal? ;)

Oh absolutely mention that fact. Also mention the role reversal and what could possibly have caused that.

leib10
25 Sep 10,, 01:51
Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it

And believe me, our schooling has never allowed the slightest chance for that to happen. :)

gunnut
25 Sep 10,, 01:51
I think history generally mentions dates even in Texas. I wonder how long the section on slavery in Texas is or the section on apartheid in Texas through most of the 20th century.....not that I think there was a history of racism...

And make sure to mention which party dominated Texas politics through most of the 20th century.

Roosveltrepub
25 Sep 10,, 02:10
And make sure to mention which party dominated Texas politics through most of the 20th century.

Yeah the ugly truth is till LBJ signed that bill in 65 the party of racial hate was the Democrat party...... we all know who wooed them over the next 7 year right?

Monash
25 Sep 10,, 05:20
I’ don’t generally like to enter criticisms on the US Politics forum but ...

For heaven’s sake this is History we’re talking about here, the human story! People get born, they do stuff (good or bad depending on your perspective) and then they die. Along the way someone remembers to take some notes or (more often) comes along after all those involved are long dead and pontificates on how/why (insert name here) managed to stuff it all up.

However if we are prepared to learn History also tells us things about ourselves as a nation/people, how we got to be where we are and about the mistakes others have made that we might try to avoid. But you can't separate out one part of history and say - this is off limits because all parts of history are bound up in a whole, a chain of cause and effect that crosses all geographical, racial and cultural boundaries.

Only now some idiots have decided they don't want anyone to know about Islamic History. What’s next Geography? - a big blank spot on the map where the middle east used to be (except for Israel of course that can stay). How about biology? They’re probably don’t like sex education either so let’s remove genitalia from all biology text books (or at least pixilate them) so that from now on these organs don't officially exist either.

My point is that blatant censorship of knowledge is a slippery slope ..... you'll end up losing one of the very things that made America great and end up being like all those inward looking dictatorships around the globe that try to reorder their peoples world view in the name of patriotism.

I shall now ride off into the sunset on my moral high horse...

Parihaka
25 Sep 10,, 05:38
i don't understand whether they're complaining about Islam getting better press or simply Christianity getting less coverage?

gunnut
25 Sep 10,, 08:41
Yeah the ugly truth is till LBJ signed that bill in 65 the party of racial hate was the Democrat party...... we all know who wooed them over the next 7 year right?

You might want to check on who tried to filibuster the civil rights bill.

Roosveltrepub
25 Sep 10,, 09:52
You might want to check on who tried to filibuster the civil rights bill.

Oh, I was clear the democrat party included the Southern Racist wing till LBJ signed. The Filibuster attempt was pre signing was it not? Isn't that a tacit aknowledgement I know who was filibustering? Now, tell me what's the Southern Strategy?

Roosveltrepub
25 Sep 10,, 18:42
Anyone know what the measure was which the Republican majority first defeated/ It was pretty unamerican

ZekeJones
25 Sep 10,, 21:22
i don't understand whether they're complaining about Islam getting better press or simply Christianity getting less coverage?

Both.

Bigfella
26 Sep 10,, 03:04
i don't understand whether they're complaining about Islam getting better press or simply Christianity getting less coverage?

Pari,

It isn't entirely clear, but I'm betting it is probably both. You also need to factor in how the people making these decisions might define each of those measurements. This appears to be part of an ongoing battle that made news earlier this year. The stuff here is just what actually got up. Some of the proposed stuff was way stranger (like changing 'slave trade' to 'Atlantic triangular trade' - read the changes on 'capitalism' & I think the reason for this is clear). I'll try to dig up some more stuff if I can get time.

Apparently this will have an impact beyond Texas because it is such a large purchaser of textbooks.


May 23, 2010

Ignoring Experts' Pleas, Texas Board Approves Controversial Curriculum Standards
By Katherine Mangan

Austin, Tex.

The Texas State Board of Education has approved controversial changes to the state's social-studies curriculum standards that could affect the way the subject is taught to millions of children nationwide.

In doing so, board members ignored pleas from college history professors and other experts that the vote be delayed.

Instead, the board voted on Friday to adopt the standards after passing more than 200 amendments. The 9-to-5 vote split along party lines, with Republicans in the majority.

Many of the changes put a conservative spin on a proposal that had been prepared by a panel of history and social-studies experts.

The standards will be used to decide which historical figures and events Texas' 4.8 million public-school students will study in the next decade. The impact could reach far beyond the state's borders, however, since Texas is one of the largest markets for textbooks, and national publishers often tailor their texts to the state's standards. Some publishers note, however, that with digital publishing, they can more readily adapt texts to meet different states' requirements. In California, a state senator has introduced a bill that would ensure that texts adopted there don't contain Texas-inspired changes.

Among other things, the revisions in Texas raised questions about the separation of church and state and determined that the inaugural address of the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, should be studied alongside Abraham Lincoln's. The word "capitalism," which some board members felt had negative connotations, was replaced with "free enterprise system."

Cynthia Dunbar, a Republican board member from Richmond, set the tone for Friday's meeting when she opened it with an invocation.

"I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses," she said.

The revisions, which are still being updated with dozens of amendments that were rushed through before Friday's vote, are posted on the department's Web site.

Conservatives on the board said the changes restore balance to a curriculum that has been tilted to the left after years of Democratic dominance on the board. Last year, the board approved changes in science-curriculum standards so that they now raise questions about evolution and global warming. Those changes provoked a similar outcry from college professors nationwide.

Some of the board's outnumbered Democrats accused their colleagues of ignoring the input of history professors and other experts who spent more than a year making recommendations.

David Bradley, a Republican from Beaumont, made no secret of his distrust of college professors.

"We've done our job, but once these students step out of 12th grade, they'll be thrown to the wolves," he told reporters after the vote.

Some of the harshest criticism of the new standards came from six of the nine members of the panel of experts that the board appointed. Those members—two college professors and four high-school teachers—released a two-page statement last week expressing their "collective disgust" with the state board's changes in their original proposal, which they said resulted in a "distorted culmination of our work."

"We feel that the SBOE's biased and unfounded amendments undercut our attempt to build a strong, balanced and diverse set of standards," said the statement. "Texans should be outraged," it said, at how the board rewrote the standards "without regard to standard historical interpretations."

The signatories included Julio Noboa, an assistant professor of social studies in the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Laura K. Muñoz, assistant professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi.

In a separate letter Ms. Muñoz urged the board to delay its vote, saying the standards "omit Latinos from almost every decade of American experience in the last 150 years."

In March, the board gave preliminary approval to the changes, which included hundreds of amendments that the state board made in January and March. More than 100 more amendments were added last week during the marathon sessions leading up to Friday's vote.

More than 20,000 people submitted public comments during the 30 days the document was posted.

By Friday, an online petition protesting the changes had been signed by 1,254 historians—mostly college professors.

Among those who testified against the standards last week were Benjamin T. Jealous, president of the NAACP, and Rod Paige, a former U.S. secretary of education under George W. Bush. The Texas Christian Coalition joined groups praising the new standards.

Board members wrangled at some length over whether to reinsert Thomas Jefferson alongside John Calvin in a list of historical figures whose writings should be studied. Conservative board members had earlier been roundly ridiculed for yanking Mr. Jefferson, an advocate of separation of church and state, from a section of the standards. The most recent round of heated debate prompted a frustrated outburst from Rick Agosto, a Democrat from San Antonio.

"I feel like we have too many chefs in the kitchen," Mr. Agosto said. By removing Mr. Jefferson from a list of Enlightenment figures and then reinserting him in a hastily-revised section that deletes references to the Enlightenment, the board was mangling the intent of the history experts' original proposal, Mr. Agosto said. "This is an embarrassment."

During a break in the session, Mr. Agosto said board members who are not history experts had no business meddling in the standards.

"When little boys play with fire, their fingers get burned. And we've created a bonfire here." The revised standards, he added, "belong in the trash."

Mary Helen Berlanga, a Democrat from Corpus Christi, criticized her colleagues on the board for trying to sanitize the past by playing down racism and other ugly aspects of Texas and U.S. history.

"I feel like we've let the schoolchildren of Texas down because we haven't been able to tell them the truth," she said, as she dropped textbooks one by one from her desk onto the floor. "When these students get to college they'll learn it for the first time."

Texas Board Approves Controversial Curriculum Standards - Government - The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Texas-Board-Approves/65661/)



Texas education standards spark debate on slavery, politics

Updated 5/21/2010 1:01 PM

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

The Texas State Board of Education was set to vote Friday on changes to social studies standards that have angered and, in some cases, baffled critics, including President George W. Bush's first education secretary, who is protesting the politicization of the process. Among the proposed changes: calling the USA's slave trade the "Atlantic triangular trade" and minimizing the role of Thomas Jefferson, who espoused a strict separation of church and state.

The new standards set curriculum for millions of Texas school children and lay the groundwork for textbooks and standardized tests for a decade. But the changes could also carry outsized influence because Texas is a large state — textbooks sold to other states often carry content tailored to Texas specifications.

On Thursday, former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, a one-time Houston superintendent, said the proposed standards are too detailed and "take away a lot of the latitude of the teachers" in designing curricula. He also worries that teachers, focused increasingly on getting their students to pass state skills tests, will be "very, very concerned about the standards" and ensure that students learn the content.

Paige testified before the board on Wednesday about the growing politicization of education. In an interview Thursday, he said he understands the point of view of several state board members, who this week said they are simply bringing balance to a set of standards that skew leftward. But Paige said, "This political swaying between left and right is retarding our ability to have an effective educational delivery system in the United States of America."

Paige, who is African-American, said the proposed Texas standards "drastically understate the influence of slavery and the Civil Rights movement in our national story – it almost suggests that students will be learning that our liberties – and especially African-Americans' freedoms – were kind of gently acquired. The liberty and freedoms that African-Americans enjoy were born out of struggle – deep struggle. {hellip} nobody just woke up in the morning and said, 'O.K., you're free."

NAACP President Ben Jealous said he was "stunned" to learn of the change in reference to slavery. "You can't take slavery out of the slave trade," he said. "Our children need to be taught the whole truth – not half of it."

Texas education standards spark debate on slavery, politics - USATODAY.com (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-05-21-textbooks21_ST_N.htm)

Roosveltrepub
26 Sep 10,, 18:47
When i was in School we were taught Totalitarian movements seek to re write history......way to go Texas Taliban