By now you may have heard about the Texas mom from the Houston area, Roni Dean-Burren. She was stunned when her son Kobe alerted her about the new edition of his school textbook, World Geography, published by McGraw-Hill. He did so via text message with an attached photo. It was found in the section titled “Patterns of Immigration,” where a caption box that points to a U.S. map reads: “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”
Roni taught English for 11 years at the same Pearland, TX public high school that her son attends. She is now a doctoral candidate in the University of Houston’s Language Arts program. Alarmed by this omission Roni decided to go on Facebook last Wednesday and Thursday to make this “clerical error” known. Around the time her post hit approximately 500,000 views on Friday, McGraw-Hill posted on its Facebook page on Friday “We believe we can do better.” “To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor.” This goes to show that with the power of social media you too can take on the big corporation and make a positive change and correct an honest mistake. So hopefully within 5 to 10 years when some of the less fortunate school districts have enough funding they can purchase the revised edition. Seems fair for a simple oversight, right?
Since the 1960s, textbooks in Texas have been a target for right-wing religious extremists. They felt children were being indoctrinated into Communism, Marxism, Socialism and Atheism. For decades there have been many grassroots curriculum change groups. One of the earliest pioneers are Mel and Norma Gabler who started their cause at home. These anti-propaganda propaganda groups started receiving assistance from conservative organizations such as The Moral Majority, the Heritage Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, evangelical groups and television preachers. Today, conservative figures are still regurgitating the same bile. The reason that Texas is the central point of focus is that “Everything is bigger in Texas”. This includes their public school system whose needs are so large that it gives publishing companies the ability to offer the same Texas textbooks to other states at a much lower price. This makes it easier for the Conservative’s revisionist agenda who can focus mainly on one state while potentially impacting the entire country.
The kinder version of African’s visiting America for vacation and then remaining to stake out a fortune is outrageous. Probably the worst of that could be but there have been other history changes attempted or made. Such as; downplay the role that slavery played in causing the Civil War; remove Thomas Jefferson when regarding the Age of Enlightenment and replace him with religious icons John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas; references to “capitalism” and the “free market” should be replaced by “free enterprise”; more mentions of President Reagan; state the Judeo-Christian influence on the Founding Fathers (like giving credit to Moses for influencing the U.S. Constitution) while understating that silly little part about the separation of church and state; depict the government as a “Constitutional Republic,” rather than a “Democracy”; switching historical time periods from B.C. and A.D. to B.C.E. and C.E.
A section of high school sociology course that discusses the difference between sex and gender was shot down over worries that it would lead students into the world of transvestites and transsexuals. Some of the proposed Science changes were; the inclusion of creation science and intelligent design as a reliable source of scientific information; no transitional fossils have been found; man’s alleged contribution to climate change. I must give the Conservatives some credit. Instead of outright denying climate change they instead opted for a gentler reassurance that all those evil billionaire scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are probably not correct whereas the warm and fuzzy Conservative think tank, the Heartland Institute (part of the Kochtopus), lets us know everything is fine. Just fine. (See for yourself in the following PDF Analysis of Climate Change in Proposed Social Studies Textbooks for Texas Public Schools.)
I could go on about other changes desired by those who feel education, like our mass media, has been dominated by liberal bias and they just want to see a “fair and balanced” education. If you believe that then you might as well believe that McGraw-Hill made a boo-boo and it most certainly had nothing to do with money and, as stated earlier, the fact that Texas has the largest public school system in the United States. The overall Conservative plan is not to educate. It is to force public education down the Conservative path any way they possibly can. By no random coincidence, of the 15 members of Texas Board of Education, there are 10 Conservatives (7 extreme, 3 staunch) and 5 Liberals. With those numbers, sooner or later, they may get what they want. And what they ultimately want is to control history.
Video below on the recent story involving the published Texas textbook. © The Young Turks
The video below is a Nightline segment 2010! © ABC News / The Walt Disney Company
Video below from The David Pakman Show – © David Pakman
Video below ©The Young Turks