Texas is about to get a whole bunch more stupider if the Board of Education has its way. Scholars have been decrying the textbooks proposed based on 2010 guidelines as “biased” and “inaccurate,” and they’re absolutely right! A hearing to adopt these neocon-leaning textbooks and their inaccurate viewpoints is scheduled on September 16.
The books have an unapologetic and almost celebratory viewpoint of free market capitalism that does not even introduce the negative aspects.
A few examples:
“The atmosphere of a free market, as well as a free society that encourages the exchange of ideas, can and often does lead to innovation and scientific and technological discoveries. All these conditions promote growth in the economy and often improve the quality of everyday life.”
“The proper role of government in economic affairs should be restricted to functions intended to promote and protect the free play of competition and the operation of the laws of supply and demand. True laissez-faire capitalism has never in fact operated in this country, yet it has a profound effect on the structure of the nation’s economic system, which can be described as laissez-faire capitalism with limited government involvement.”
Reviewers wrote of the texts:
“Mentioning the advantages of the free enterprise system is entirely appropriate. However, the text’s treatment of the free enterprise system is unbalanced and asymmetrical because the text provides little mention of the possible limits and disadvantages of a free enterprise and laissez-faire system. Students are given little awareness that critics of a laissez-faire system, both in the U.S. today and the past, have argued that an unfettered market can and has occasionally led to economic insecurity and inequality, unfair pay, and unsafe labor conditions for many employees.”
Reviewers were also harshly critical of the materials’ commentary on African civilizations.
The text states: “South of the Sahara Desert most of the people before the Age of Explorations were black Africans of the Negro race.
Elsewhere, the text states: “The first known inhabitants of Africa north of the Sahara in prehistory were Caucasoid Hamitic people of uncertain origin.”
Reviewers reminded everyone that, “First, the term “Negro” is archaic and fraught with ulterior meaning. It should categorically not be used in a modern textbook. Further, the first passage is unforgivably misleading because it suggests that all black native Africans belong to a single “racial” group. This is typological thinking, which disappeared largely from texts after the 1940s. It harkens back to the racialization theory that all people could be classified as one of three “races”: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, or Negroid. Better to omit all the language in this passage referring to outdated racial categories.”
If you’re wondering if the school board deliberately selected books that incorporate the unnatural fusion of religion and government — of course, they did!
Discovery Education: “When Europeans arrived, they brought Christianity with them and spread it among the indigenous people. Over time, Christianity became the main religion in Latin America.”
Pearson Education: “Priests came to Mexico to convert Native Americans to the Roman Catholic religion. The Church became an important part of life in the new colony. Churches were built in the centers of towns and cities, and church officials became leaders in the colony.”
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: “The Spanish brought their language and Catholic religion, both of which dominate modern Mexico.”
“The Christianization of the indigenous peoples of the Americas was most decidedly not benign. These descriptions provide a distorted picture of the spread of Christianity. An accurate account must include information about the forced conversion of native peoples and the often-systematic destruction of indigenous religious institutions and practices. (This error of omission is especially problematic when contrasted with the emphasis on conquest — often violent — to describe the spread of Islam in some textbooks.)
In addition, though neither English nor French North American colonizers actually forced Christianity upon Native people, ti did become United States policy to actively discourage all expressions of traditional Native cultures, including indigenous religion. This was particularly so in the notorious boarding schools to which Native children were sent after being forcibly separated from their parents As for Muslims, the books are critical of them, too.”
From a world history textbook: “Much of the violence you read or hear about in the Middle East is related to a jihad.”
And this, relating to Islam, from another World History text: “The spread of international terrorism is an outgrowth of Islamic fundamentalism which opposes Western political and cultural influences and Western ideology.”
Reviewers said the obvious:
This broad charge effectively blames Islam for a very complex cycle of violence and counter-violence, a cycle driven by a host of factors (e.g. natural resources, population pressures) besides radical Islam.”
Of the second excerpt, they noted:
“The statement about international terrorism is inaccurate and misleading. Not all international terrorism is an outgrowth of Islamic fundamentalism; for example, ETA in Spain and the Irish Republican Army are unrelated to Islamic fundamentalism. Further, the use of loaded terms like “occupied” makes little sense when discussing the Middle Ages, when the population of those regions were by and large Muslim themselves. While there is a lengthy section on Islamic scholarship in this product, in nearly every instance the “original” scientist whose work inspired the scientist described is identified, which serves to minimize the contribution of Islamic scholarship.”
The entire summary is more than 30 pages long. In conservative-speak, that’s “one of them big books that isn’t the Bible.” Unfortunately, the polluted pool of candidates for school board shows no sign of clearing up anytime soon. Hell, these people are still heavily pushing for Creationism to be taught as actual science.