Archive for Saturday, September 25, 2010

Texas education board adopts resolution limiting Islam

September 25, 2010


— The Texas State Board of Education adopted a resolution Friday that seeks to curtail references to Islam in Texas textbooks, as social conservative board members warned of what they describe as a creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation’s publishing industry.

The board approved the one-page nonbinding resolution, which urges textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books, by a 7-5 vote.

Critics say it’s another example of the ideological board trying to politicize public education in the Lone Star State. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for religious freedom, questioned why the resolution came at a time when “anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has reached fever pitch.”

“It’s hard not to conclude that the misleading claims in this resolution are either based on ignorance of what’s in the textbooks or, on the other hand, are an example of fear-mongering and playing politics,” Miller said.

Future boards that will choose the state’s next generation of social studies texts will not be bound by the resolution.

“This is an expression of the board’s opinion, so it does not have an effect on any particular textbook,” said David Anderson, the general counsel for the Texas Education Agency, when asked by a board member what legal weight the resolution would carry.

“So this is a cosmetic exercise?” asked board member Mavis Knight, a Democrat from Dallas.

The resolution cites world history books no longer used in Texas schools that it says devoted more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than Christian ones. Chairwoman Gail Lowe said the resolution cites old books because board rules prohibit them from discussing current books more than 90 days after their adoption.

“I believe that it’s happening in the current (social studies books) even though we can’t cover that in the resolution,” said board member Terri Leo, a Republican from Spring. The resolution sends a “clear message to publishers that it should not happen in the future.”

The resolution also claims “more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now.”

Two Republicans broke from their party to vote with the Democrats. Two Democrats — Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi and Rene Nunez of El Paso — were absent for the vote. The initial vote on the resolution was 7-6, but the board later reconsidered the measure. The second vote was 7-5 after a Democratic board member left the meeting.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

This is excellent news. We all know that radical Islamists have taken over the textbook publishing industry.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

Considering Muslims have already bought influence in Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, I wouldn't have thought that this would bother the wacko right.

SandCoAlmanac 7 years, 9 months ago

About all I know about this issue is contained in this article, so I think that's what I need to be qualified to comment on these boards. Here goes: It strikes me that reincarnation might be a viable concept after all. If Sen. Joe McCarthy has become reincarnated as seven members of the TX State BOE, anti-communism has become reincarnated as anti-Muslim/anti-Islam (are these the same? Doesn't seem like they should be. Want to check on this.) and McCarthy's list of 'members of the communist party and members of a spy ring' are reincarnated as "creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation’s publishing industry", then . . . it seems that reincarnation is a lot more than 'deja vu all over again.' It seems there may be a more basic force, like .... paranoia? It's a good thing I'm not a social science specialist/politician or even a psychiatrist. Stuff like this makes my head hurt. 'Nuff said. need more coffee . . .

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

Born in Lincoln, NE grew up in Casper, WY

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

Cheney is a distant cousin of both Harry S. Truman and Barack Obama; the three share a common ancestor in Mareen Duvall, a Huguenot who fled from France to England in the 17th century and later settled in Maryland.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, it would be a terrible thing to be well educated about the beliefs and history of our enemies. That wouldn't help at all in the war on fundie islam....

slvrntrt 7 years, 9 months ago

Boy are they going to be pissed when the realize that they have the same God.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 9 months ago

This conspiracy extends all the way to our military. Many of our boys and girls in uniform are being taught Arabic as well as the customs and traditions of islamic culture.

This is indoctrination pure and simple and is all part of the "creeping Middle Eastern influence" that has grasped our military by the throat.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

Or, it might be construed as an attempt to understand the history and culture of nations our military is assigned to occupy, resulting in their possibly making a positive influence instead of just killing somebody who dresses and prays in a different manner, and blaming it all on those 19 mostly Saudis who showed the entire US government at that time to be utterly inept at defending us.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 9 months ago

You don't suppose that could be because they are being shipped out to Arabic speaking countries? I guess that would make too much sense. Or maybe they're being trained as translaters?

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

I detect trace amounts of missed sarcasm in this area, captain.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

I believe you got me there, jonas....more coffee....

tomatogrower 7 years, 9 months ago

Are you serious? You are against educating our troops about places that we send them? I suppose you're one of those whiney Tea Party people who go to rallies in Washington to support our troops, and have a bumper sticker, but don't want to pay any taxes to pay for the war. Get an education!

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 9 months ago

It seems my best attempts at sarcasm cannot hold a candle to the crazy crap that right wingers actually say and believe. Sigh.

newmedia 7 years, 9 months ago

"The Eyes of Texas are upon you....."

i_read_things 7 years, 9 months ago

Glad to see this publicized; I like to know when such crackers are creeping this way. And dear Texas - now you know how we feel every time we see Kansas associated with Phred Felps.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, across the nation the demolibs have been systematically eliminating Christianity and Judaism from the textbooks - therefore, why NOT do the same for Islam?

Brian Laird 7 years, 9 months ago

As usual, an inflammatory statement with nothing to back it up.

remember_username 7 years, 9 months ago

In Texas its all about the oil. Those in Texas would much rather we burned good Christian oil in our cars rather than that heathen Islamic oil from the middle east.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 9 months ago

Another example of why we need to stop getting all our textbooks from Texas.Let's teach our children true history, not the made-up fairy tales we get now.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 9 months ago

Texas is one of the larger textbook markets and, since textbook publishers don't create 50 different versions of their products, the consequences of the anti-intellect right wingers in Texas will be felt nationwide. Absent an outcry from intelligent people,that is.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

Yet, Lib, the advancements made by Americans educated in that "government-controlled" school system have advanced our nation to be the most prosperous in the history of the world until the last decade and a half. That roughly corresponds with the time the flaming naysayers have been blaming public education for their own failures.

Brian Laird 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm going to have to disagree here. Even one of the strongest advocates of limited government, Thomas Jefferson, was strongly committed to the idea of publicly funded education as a necessity for a free society.

"Prior to compulsory, publicly-funded education becoming nationwide, the US was the most literate, technologically advanced civilization in the history of the world up to that point in time."

Compulsory education was introduced in the US first by Massachussetts in the 1860s and last by Mississippi in the early 20th century. By what measure do you base your claim that the US was "the most literate, technologically advanced civilization in the world" in the mid 19h century. Certainly Europe at the time was much more advanced scientifically at the time.

"Anyone familiar with the history of compulsory public education knows that the purpose has been to foster obedience to the state. "

And you have evidence for this? I would argue the opposite. In the US South, denying access to public education was a traditional way of controlling certain segments of the population - through "anti-literacy laws" and later "separate, but equal" - probably a big factor explaining why Mississippi was the last state to adopt compulsory education.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

That is simply not the case, Lib. The purpose of mandatory public education was to prepare a workforce for enormous scale business. Dewey was absolutely clear and unequivocal and the political positions of that argument are equally clear and unequivocal. It is quite true, however, that the US' educational status compared to the rest of the world has dropped from about 4th best in 1960, to about 40th best.
Would you consider that at least part of that may be due to the fact that the nations of the world have been providing mandatory public education to their citizens and have surpassed the effectiveness of our own nation's outcomes?

tomatogrower 7 years, 9 months ago

What country do you live in? I'm only a young 58 years old, but I'm don't remember a time when we didn't have publicly-funded education. And we had an innovative, thriving country. Until being a grownup became a dirty word, instead of a goal in life, we had a great educational system. Of course, you would prefer to have a bunch of uneducated people so they would believe everything you say. Kind of like the Taliban. They tell young kids who can't read the Koran, that the Koran says to kill American soldiers. Teach them to read the Koran, then they realize they were lied to. Sorry, Liberty, education is what keeps dictators away.

Brian Laird 7 years, 9 months ago

My statement about TJ concerned public education in general, mainly to dispute your contention that public education was purely an effort to ensure allegiance fo the state. I agree that TJ had an aversion to strict compulsion in education, but he also thought that noncompliance would be rare. My point is that he was an advocate of public funding of education.

tomatogrower 7 years, 9 months ago

You are free to home school your children.

Brian Laird 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm sorry, this is just BS. I went to public school and nowhere in that experience was I taught obedience to the state. Just because you have parinoid libertarian conspiracy fantasies doesn't mean we should make policy to suit them.

geekyhost 7 years, 9 months ago

No they don't. You've never heard of homeschooling? Depending on your state, they don't even force homeschoolers to meet any standards or keep any paperwork. (That's not in any way meant to imply homeschoolers aren't taught anything. I'm just saying the state isn't imposing any sort of "obedience" here.)

You're also free to attend private and parochial schools. Yes, you still have to pay for the public school, just as you have to pay for roads you don't use and parks you don't visit. Deal.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

Archibald Murphey served South Carolina, and, though eventually appointed a judge, was extraordinarily ineffective, completed little he started, and of virtually no influence on the outcomes in his own state, much less the nation. He was, it is purported by the ponderous Wikipedia, called the "father of education" for South Carolina, the land of mountain-topping, clear-cutting, pig farms and loblolly pines. Dewey, by contrast, was educated, a modernizer seeking to spread the benefits of democracy to even the poor and middle class, a truly revolutionary notion. He was convinced of the role of industry and capitalism in our own peculiar manifestation of democracy, and wrote copiously and convincingly. He was also obviously educated and thoughtful.
He, among many, greatly influenced the captains of industry who not only embraced but campaigned for public education and its anticipated benefits.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

The purpose of compulsory, public-funded education is to provide access to knowledge to all, not just the privileged few. Reading is freedom. Access to the library, to history, to thought, to art and philosophy is the substrate from which freedom, invention, personal expression are molded. Why are you so averse to the Social Contract, through which we gain and earn freedom and opportunity at the cost of willing participation in the community that provides it? Is Pub Ed perfect? Hell no. We who have benefited from being here have the obligation to make it work better. Or, we have the liberty to sit on the sidelines and bitch. You choose the latter, I the former. Yeah, I'll pull your share too. And I don't complain about it.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

Our public school system is nothing like you describe above.

Everybody has a right to choose another school, or to home school.

You may have thought it was like that while you struggled through...or just loafed. What you derive from the process is the direct result of the effort you put into it.

Text books are like the "example" question on a test. They do not convey a comprehensive view of ANY subject. They are exercises in using reading and reasoning skills and critical thinking, then implemented in a competent bibliography. That is the purpose of education.

I'm sorry your experience was so meager, and so lacking of substance.

You read poorly, you interpret loosely.

Yeah, I guess your ignorance is bliss. and you "guess" you may pay more taxes some day than I have...based on the same level of knowledge of the rest of your drivel...

Sorry for the waste of time, I originally thought you were worth a serious conversation. My mistake.

kansanbygrace 7 years, 9 months ago

No, actually I've read a huge amount of Dewey's socialist claptrap, and most of your little list. I didn't propose you like Dewey, now did I? The list doesn't pertain to my point.
You seem to have a problem reading a phrase and having some reaction occur that is really non sequitur in light of the rest of the paragraph. What you call "statist propaganda" is motive and reason to me.
Maybe ugly is in the eye of the beholder. In the last 40-some years, I have taught grades, middle, and university. I've taught young adults basic educational skills who didn't catch them in K-12. I know that Pub Ed is deficient, and federalising it did more harm than good.
This really is just all about you, isn't it?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Ignorance is bliss

Parents must be more aggressive on the fundamentalist christians placing their bent in textbooks and virtual school programs. Some of the largest publishers are located in Texas.

If my memory serves me well Bill Bennett is a founder of the k-12 curriculum that USD 497 offers to virtual school students.

Beware of Bill Bennett. You'll find his name associated with:

"Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” (Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security)

blindrabbit 7 years, 9 months ago

The Texas Board of Education has been dominated by right wing christian fundamentalists for many years; that's OK by me, if Texan's want their school curricula to be controlled by this faction. Kind of a much bigger form of the Kansas Board that was dominated by Steve Abrams and the other digbats in the past. The problem with the Texas position is that because of the "size" of the Texas population, text book printers are beholding to print to Texas guidelines. This is especially effective in Texas because Texas provides text books to students and therefore has has an effective rubber stamp on content.

Because of this situation; all the rest of us are in-effect controlled by the Texas Board of Ed. Money talks regardless of what is correct

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

According to one news report, some on the board "seem to have concluded that Texas' classrooms have been infected with a liberal bias."

Imagine that. TEA Website

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

Not aware of the number the TEA cites but when is it apparent there may be a bias?

When, just counting words, an american social studies text has 3,100 words describing things islam and 310 referring to christian? or 50-50? When does one suspect bias?

Will Rogers would say history is whoever wrote it.

Studied out of country in late 50's, history is unhappily subjective at primary and secondary levels.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 9 months ago

Considering the Texans' sykgod is all powerful, they sure are wimpy about this. Of course, the other two SG's are also omnipotent, which creates a problem. The Texas school board is the Phelps family of state-level politics and an embarassment for the entire Lone Star State. Someday school boards will realize they are wasting money on textbooks. When they do, these debates will end pretty quickly as the market will collapse.

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

Seems to me folks are making a mountain out of a molehill. Read what the board wrote. Those Texan board members are pretty much normal folk.

Some who post here, not so normal.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.