Textbooks and Controversy

Discussion in 'Education' started by Annie, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Sunday I was at a get together at my brother's home with several of our mutual very old friends, their kids, and now their kids. ;) I was talking to one of the 'kids' and her husband, parents of 4, the oldest a 4th grader.'

    They were livid over the math program their kids are going through, nothing new to me for those that have read my posts on this. If anyone wishes to discuss math and the crazy way they're teaching it now, start a thread. Start with 't' and many will pay attention.

    Anyhow, with that conversation firmly in mind, I opened an email today from History News Network, and found this:

    Vote iQ - Hot Topics - TextBooks - Intro

    It's about the TX textbook controversy, my interest of course being social studies. What caught my eye was 'reducing discussion length on civil rights.' I would agree. Now that sounds awful, but to anyone who has picked up elementary or high school texts, you know that there is little discussion on founders/framers, little on the significance of Mayflower Compact or English Bill of Rights. In most texts there is 0 mentioned about the hardships beyond Jamestown and 0 about the wealth and jump in life expectancies by 1700.

    Civil Rights on the other hand is nearly always a full chapter, followed by more discussion on Post WWII America.

    So yes, cut some ink from the one, add ink to others.

    On the other hand, I found this a bit disturbing, from the 'facts' page:

    Anyhow, if anyone else would like to hunt and peck through that site and post some thoughts, I'll probably jump in.
     
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  2. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    facts are so changing depending on who is writing the book....has always been that way....
     
  3. Nosmo King
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    Nosmo King Gold Member

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    Has there ever been a concerted explicit effort to include more Liberal philosophy and exclusion of Conservative philosophy?



    I mean that's pretty damn explicit right there!

    It's funny how much the Right bitches and whines about bias right up until they explicitly call for bias!
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Ah, but textbooks are a separate kettle of fish. I assume we all want as many children as possible to succeed at basic math and beyond. I also assume that we want our children to learn history, not some version made up by agendas of the right or left, depending upon the time that they are being written?

    When history was about all gain and no pain for the indigenous people here, that was wrong. If instead we speak only of what's wrong with 'our past', not the benefits, that too is wrong.

    Texas is at the forefront of textbook publishers, they buy huge amounts and quite often. The publishers aim to please.

    What TX wants is a mix of fairness from what has been and some push to a very skewed bias for conservatives from what I can tell.
     
  5. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    It seems that texts are important sources of information for teachers, as well as students:

    "Often inspired by well-defined political agendas, these criticisms encompass issues of inclusion or omission of certain topics, and the endorsement of particular values or behavior. Special-interest lobbying to change textbook content is well worth the effort, however, since American history books are the single most significant source of information on subjects of vital topics for high school teachers as well as their students.” JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie

    And, of course, texts, as in the nation in general, we are witnessing a move to the right:
    "March 17 (Bloomberg) -- Lack of balance is the charge being levied against the Texas State Board of Education after it inserted changes to new standards in social studies programs in public schools. The Associated Press said in an article that a “far-right faction” of the board had succeeded “in injecting conservative ideals” into the curriculum.
    The Texas flap matters because Texas is so big. Publishers will revise textbooks to win the prize Texas contract. But the debate also reminds us that our current definition of balance is distorted. After all, what’s wrong with “injecting conservative ideals” into a curriculum, as long as they aren’t the only ideals?
    At its most devilishly aggressive -- and whatever lines it inserts about church, state, hip-hop or the Alamo -- the board will not restore true balance. It will merely manage to make the curriculum a little less skewed to the left.
    These days the word “balance” means what policy makers say it does, not more or less. Liberals Getting a Taste of How ?Balance? Feels: Amity Shlaes - Bloomberg
     
  6. Big Fitz
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    I blame the egocentrism of the 60's generation's who's been editing these books since the mid 80's in an effort to justify their pollyanna idealism that just doesn't match with reality.
     
  7. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    I see you have no clue about what is known as 'progressive education,' from the time of John Dewey until now. That IS 'Liberal philosophy and exclusion of Conservative philosophy'.

    The methods, the content, most educators, and most texts are liberal.

    1. At a recent meeting of the New York Teaching Fellows program (“Teach for America”: provides an alternate route to state certification for about 1,700 new teachers annually) , Sol Stern found the one book that the fellows had to read in full was Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.
    This book has achieved near-iconic status in America’s teacher-training programs. In 2003, David Steiner and Susan Rozen published a study examining the curricula of 16 schools of education—14 of them among the top-ranked institutions in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report—and found that Pedagogy of the Oppressed was one of the most frequently assigned texts in their philosophy of education courses.


    a. Paulo Freire represents the essence of Progressive thought:
    "Freire never intends “pedagogy” to refer to any method of classroom instruction based on analysis and research, or to any means of producing higher academic achievement for students. [H]e relies on Marx’s standard formulation that “the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat [and] this dictatorship only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.” In one footnote, however, Freire does mention a society that has actually realized the “permanent liberation” he seeks: it “appears to be the fundamental aspect of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.”Pedagogy of the Oppressor by Sol Stern, City Journal Spring 2009

    2. Traditional education insists on a body of knowledge, as opposed to Progressive:
    "The pedagogical point of Freire’s thesis : its opposition to taxing students with any actual academic content, which Freire derides as “official knowledge” that serves to rationalize inequality within capitalist society."http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_2_freirian-pedagogy.html

    3. Teacher's have the knowledge, and should be able to impart same. Not to Progressives:
    "Pedagogy of the Oppressed resonated with progressive educators, already committed to a “child-centered” rather than a “teacher-directed” approach to classroom instruction. Freire’s rejection of teaching content knowledge seemed to buttress what was already the ed schools’ most popular theory of learning, which argued that students should work collaboratively in constructing their own knowledge and that the teacher should be a “guide on the side,” not a “sage on the stage.”Pedagogy of the Oppressor by Sol Stern, City Journal Spring 2009

    4. E.D.Hirsch's traditional approach:
    "Hirsch was also convinced that the problem of inadequate background knowledge began in the early grades. Elementary school teachers thus had to be more explicit about imparting such knowledge to students—indeed, this was even more important than teaching the “skills” of reading and writing, Hirsch believed. Hirsch’s insight contravened the conventional wisdom in the nation’s education schools: that teaching facts was unimportant, and that students instead should learn “how to” skills. …expanded the argument in a 1983 article, titled “Cultural Literacy,” in The American Scholar." E. D. Hirsch’s Curriculum for Democracy by Sol Stern, City Journal Autumn 2009

    5. Now, get this: traditional learning is knowledge-based, not 'process-based.' The progressives believe that 'an agile mind can always look it up.'
    "[Hirsch] launched the Core Knowledge Foundation, which sought to create a knowledge-based curriculum for the nation’s elementary schools. A wide range of scholars assisted him in specifying the knowledge that children in grades K–8 needed to become proficient readers. For example, the Core Knowledge curriculum specifies that in English language arts, all second-graders read poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickinson, and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as stories by Rudyard Kipling, E. B. White, and Hans Christian Andersen. In history and geography, the children study the world’s great rivers, ancient Rome, and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, among other subjects....[But] . [T]eachers and principals had trained at Columbia University’s Teachers College, a bastion of so-called progressive education, and militantly defended the progressive-ed doctrine that facts were pedagogically unimportant. "http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_4_hirsch.html


    But if you are a curious fellow, here is the raison d’être of the Progressive:
    'In Woodrow Wilson’s speech as president of Princeton: “Our problem is not merely to help students to adjust to themselves to world life…[but] to make them as unlike their fathers as we can.' (Michael McGerr, “A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920,” p. 111
     
  8. Big Fitz
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    Facts are facts regardless of who's writing the book. What we're getting is SPIN on what actually happened. And it's obvious nowadays that it is done with premeditation and malicious intent for political gain. Case in point:

    Saw an example once of an 1800's tourism photo of the California Redwoods (no they weren't all gone even then. Had like 40 people ringing hands around it. I'd seen it before in books talking about the wonders of nature. Then I read the picture caption about this tourism photo of 1880's California:

    "Early environmentalists link hands to protect precious redwoods from clear cutting loggers.'

    What... the... FUCK is that shit?!? And you wonder why so many people do not trust those who are writing or editing their school books when shit like this is pulled. Early Environmentalists???? The concept did not even exist till John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt fell in love with Yosemite and Yellowstone and said 'these places should be preserved for future generations'. In many ways, they were friggen RIGHT, it was a good idea. But that idea has become a nihilistic insanity that utilizes "ends justify the means' tactics to lie to children in order to get a particular CURRENT political meme across.

    The idea of education is not supposed to be one of political indoctrination. It is to give a child an awareness of the world around them and how it functions and how it came to be! Let the rest come as it may! Part of me would love to see a return to the mandatory study of the classical philosophers and writers instead of gender norming homosexuality, transexuality ambisexuality... Christ you idiot think you invented his stuff? It's NOT IMPORTANT compared to science, and math, Economics, and Shakespeare and Edmund Burke or the Federalist Papers or the Magna Carta, or Plato or even phys ed and MUSIC! This is why our nation is fucked up! We're spending our time "Handling" our children instead of forcing them to compete, achieve an win and learn the hard lessons of life such as "some people just don't win, and if you hate that feeling so much, try harder, but nobody owes you shit."

    Just doing that would change this world for the better.
     
  9. Luissa
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    Luissa Annoying Customer Supporting Member

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    :lol: How many times do kids these days cover the founding fathers? I bet at least in four different grades. And the text books we had were not liberal biased. They pumped us full of propaganda, but it wasnt liberal propaganda.
    The only time I really experience liberal biased during history was my junior year when our teacher covered the Crucible and McCarthy.
    What you should be focused on is what they teach in US History or American Civ in college, that is when you actually find out what really happened during the Revolution and Civil war.
     
  10. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Well Annie, the ultraconservative morons in Texas have decided that there is no need to study one of the 'insignificant' founding fathers...some unknown named Thomas Jefferson.

    History Question of the Day

    Which of these writers influenced the political philosophy and origins of the founding documents of the United States of America: President Thomas Jefferson, John Calvin, and/or Saint Thomas Aquinas?

    Easy, right? The answer is President Thomas Jefferson. You know, Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the many founders who threw off the religious tyranny of then-England and safeguarded the separation of church and state in our government.

    WRONG! If you are one of the 80% of students in the U.S.A. who will be reading textbooks published in Texas, you wouldn't know that President Thomas Jefferson is a writer who influenced the intellectual origins of our nation. Instead, you will be taught that Protestant "reformer" John Calvin and medieval-minded, pre-rational-thinking Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas are the true influences upon our nation's founding documents.

    John Calvin founded a theocracy, with morality police to enforce his religion's moral code under the threat of punishment, including the death penalty. In one of his most despicable acts, Calvin ordered the death (by slow burning) of his longtime pen-pal and humanist theologian Michael Servetus after assuring Serveus that he'd be safe in Geneva. Why did Calvin kill him? Because Servetus had issues with Calvin's version of church and state. The theocracy of Calvin is what our nation's revolutionaries and founders fought against, so that we could have freedom of choice and speech concerning religion/no religion.

    St. Thomas Aquinas stressed the importance of both divine revelation and human reason, but reason was trumped by revelation. The channels for revelation include scripture and the Catholic Church's tradition (not Protestant, not Jewish, not Muslim, not anyone else). Aquinas' pre-scientific-revolution teachings on natural law theory have governed Catholic moral theology and political policy since. How the Catholic Church sees god in nature is how everyone else must also understand god's will for the universe. This medieval teaching has resulted in countless anti-scientific and anti-rational Catholic teachings. If you don't believe an apostate gay like me, then just ask Galileo. The anti-rational and church-imposed teachings upon science and reason are what our nation's revolutionaries and founders fought against, so that we could have freedom of choice and speech concerning religion/no religion.

    Earlier this month, the Texas Board of Education voted to rewrite American history in textbooks published in Texas arguing that history has been skewed by the left. The vote passed with ten Republican votes, to five dissenting votes.

    The New York Times reports some of the changes the board is making to American history:

    Efforts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models for the state’s large Hispanic population were consistently defeated, prompting one member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out of a meeting late Thursday night, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist. They are going overboard, they are not experts, they are not historians. They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”

    The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution. “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

    I guess for Bradley, Article 6 of the Constitution doesn't count, not to mention the First Amendment, and countless other affirmations of the separation between church and state in further Amendments.

    They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.” “Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,” said one conservative member, Terri Leo. “You know, ‘capitalist pig!’”

    Even the course on world history did not escape the board’s scalpel. Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

    Also in the changes: Sen. Joe McCarthy's fall from power is redacted in tragic light, saying he was correct about Commie infiltrators and justified in his actions in his witch hunt hearings; the civil rights movement is taught stressing the "unintended consequences" of the movement; and many, many more Christian nips and tucks.

    Texas is a huge exporter of textbooks to other states, so don't be surprised when these books end up on your child's desk in Illinois, Washington, or California.

    Whole article...

    Right wing America...

    [​IMG]
     

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