Skip to comments.Showdown over Islam looming for SBOE (TX school board, allegation of religious bias in textbooks)
Posted on 09/16/2010 8:17:40 AM PDT by a fool in paradise
AUSTIN Texas public school children risk getting tainted with a pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias in their textbooks, according to a resolution the State Board of Education will consider next week that's likely to fan emotions already running high across the country. If Christians and Judaism gets pushed aside, parents and people don't like it because it's not accurate. It's not true, said Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, one of the board members supporting the resolution.
Critics of the resolution contend the bias perceptions either are inflated or invalid. And they point out the lack of objections seven years ago when the social studies books were updated, albeit during a time when Islam attracted less attention in this country.
Tempers already are flaring nationally and internationally with the planned development of a Muslim community center near ground zero in New York and controversy over the threatened burning of the Quran by the pastor of a small Christian congregation in Florida.
Lawrence Allen, Jr., D-Houston, the board's only Muslim member, warns that approval of the resolution will bring more unwelcome national attention to Texas. Earlier this year, the board drew national attention over social curriculum standards that some believe shortchanged minorities' contributions.
The planned resolution calls on the board to reject sections of textbooks that offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage ... or by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others.
And the resolution contends current textbooks glorify Islam with superlatives while downsizing Christianity with pejoratives.
Allen wants the board to scuttle the resolution before it comes up next Friday.
We will become very, very divisive in a vote like that. It will make national and international news. It's just not good, Allen said. The board will have to be very, very careful in recognizing that we are throwing gasoline on the fire.
But Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, said the resolution is needed to ensure that all religious groups are treated equally and fairly in textbooks.
Some currently adopted social studies books contain pro-Muslim/anti-Christian bias, she said: For example, many textbooks devote line after line to the massacre of Muslims, but censor Muslim massacres of other religious groups.
Former Ector (Odessa) Independent School District board President Randy Rives is pushing the resolution.
You need to make a bold statement to the publishers that pushing this agenda will not be tolerated in Texas, he told SBOE members at their July meeting.
Allen, a public school administrator, said he's not bothered by the resolution simply because of his Muslim faith.
Islam is going to be what it is whether this resolution is written or not, he said. What bothers me is, if I was in a setting where they were saying negative things about Christianity, it would bother me because we are not in that business.
The resolution is totally unnecessary, Allen said, because the board has a curriculum and textbook process that provide ample public review to assure that we have solid material in the classroom.
Support for the resolution appears to be coming mainly from the board's seven social conservative members and reflects the same sort of tension evident when they developed new science curriculum standards last year and social studies curriculum standards earlier this year.
Those fierce debates attracted national debate. And publishers are caught in the crossfire.
Without a doubt, social studies and science textbooks often find themselves at the crossroads of our nation's cultural wars, said Jay Diskey, executive director of the Association of American Publishers' School Division.
Most textbook companies create independent internal bias reviews because they know it does them no good to produce things that are inaccurate and biased, Diskey said.
And the books cited in the resolution aren't currently used in Texas schools, Diskey added.
But Rives, author of the resolution, said he and others are concerned those books are available for use by Texas schools. Rives unsuccessfully challenged Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, in the GOP primary this year.
McLeroy acknowledged Islam deserves more mention in world history. But he's particularly critical of historian Peter Stearns' World Civilizations textbook because of the short shrift it gives to Judaism and Christianity, he said.
Judaism gave the world monotheism the concept of one God which McLeory considers one of the most significant events in all of world history.
Shortcomings noted in the resolution probably don't represent a serious problem, McLeroy said.
But it's not a bad idea to bring attention to it, he said. I certainly don't want to keep fanning the flames.
That's exactly what will happen said the Rev. Larry Bethune, senior pastor at University Baptist Church in Austin and the immediate past president of the American Baptist Churches of the South.
It piles on to the fear-mongering and anti-Islamic fervor that some political forces in our country are stirring up, Bethune said, adding the religious bias complaints in Texas coincide with the country's growing anti-Islam rhetoric ... and sad attack on Islam.
Texas schools, he said, should teach about religious liberty and respect for other people's religious traditions and not teach extremists as exemplary of the entire religion.
EXCERPTS FROM THE RESOLUTION
A resolution the State Board of Education is considering contains the following examples of "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias:"
Patterns of pejoratives toward Christians and superlatives toward Muslims, calling Crusaders aggressors, "violent attackers," or "invaders" while euphemizing Muslim conquest of Christian lands as "migrations" by "empire builders."
Politically correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization, indicting Christianity for the same practices (e.g., sexism, slavery, persecution of out-groups) that they treat nonjudgmentally, minimize, sugarcoat, or censor in Islam.
Sanitized definitions of "jihad" that exclude religious intolerance or military aggression against non-Muslims .?.?. which undergirds worldwide Muslim terrorism. The resolution also contains the following example of how past Texas social studies textbooks have been tainted:
In one instance, devoting 120 student text lines to Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings but 248 (more than twice as many) to those of Islam; and dwelling for 27 student text lines on Crusaders' massacre of Muslims at Jerusalem in 1099 yet censoring Muslims' massacres of Christians there in 1244 and at Antioch in 1268."
It would be nice to find a copy of the text of the resolution, but at least this article had 4 examples, unlike the Houston Chronicle that omitted much of the text of this piece.
Wonder WHY the Comical saw fit to edit the piece down and redact the details?
Let me guess, they treat Charles Martel as a bad guy who stopped peaceful immigration.
Imagine America in 20 years. Sad.
I am wondering why there is a Muslim member on the Board?
And elsewhere in these United States:
Public School Field Trip: Inside Video Captures Kids Bowing to Allah
big peace ^ | 9/16/10 | Charles Jacobs
See post #10...
>> Imagine America in 20 years. Sad.
How about not.
There. Fixed it.
Because they exist to redact their readers' intelligence.
You wonder WHY???
Wait...There’s a full page ad for a sale at the Galleria today!!! Yippeeeee!!!
There’s another one!!! Woo Hoo!!!
And another, and another...
Thats what I wonder about...Why do businesses still advertise in this “bird cage liner”??? That is losing circulation (subscriptions) in droves...
Something tells me that once the street corner sales of their Sunday “bird cage liner” edition gets to a certain low point, the end is near...