Who do these people think they are?!

Discussion in 'Education' started by MaggieMae, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. MaggieMae
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    MaggieMae Reality bits

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    The great textbook wars
    Conservatives and liberals are having a tug of war over textbooks. Can a divided nation ever agree on a common curriculum?

    posted on September 24, 2010, at 9:50 AM

    With the divide between conservatives and liberals more contentious than ever, Americans no longer agree on the most basic facts of history, science, or other subjects. Social conservatives have long complained that mainstream textbooks reflect a liberal bias, promoting multiculturalism, secular values, and a negative interpretation of American history, at the expense of Christian values, the importance of free enterprise, and a belief in American exceptionalism—the idea that this country is the best, and most noble, nation in world history. “Academia is skewed too far to the left,” says Don McLeroy, a Christian fundamentalist and former member of the Texas State Board of Education. “We are adding balance.” Liberals, meanwhile, complain that conservatives are now rewriting texts to suit their prejudices, while ignoring expert opinion about such topics as evolution. The battle has raged for decades, but the acrimony reached a new height last spring in Texas, where the state board of education engaged in an unusually detailed public debate over textbook content.

    Who won that battle?
    Conservatives. They established a majority on the 15-member state board of education, which develops curriculum standards—the content guidelines for textbook publishers to follow. In a series of meetings, the board’s majority demanded significant changes in social studies textbooks. To start, they wanted the texts to establish that the U.S. is a “Christian land governed by Christian principles,” as board member Cynthia Dunbar put it. Some historical figures, the board said, should be made more prominent, while others are downplayed or eliminated. Under the new standards, Thomas Jefferson, author of the notion that a “wall of separation” exists between church and state, would be dropped from the list of primary figures in the nation’s founding, and become a minor figure. The liberal Sen. Edward Kennedy and labor leader César Chávez would no longer appear at all. President Ronald Reagan, meanwhile, would assume new prominence as a national hero, and students would learn about the “conservative resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s.” Slavery, under the new standards, would no longer be described as America’s original sin, and would become “the Atlantic triangular trade”—a relic of British colonialism that America struggled to cast off.

    More:
    The great textbook wars - The Week
     

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