Much attention, if not scorn, was heaped upon the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) when it tried to introduce some semblance of balance and accuracy in public school textbooks. Actually, as we’ve noted, the revisions were rather tame. SBOE
For example, on May 22, 2010, April Castro of the Associated Press reported that “The Texas State Board of Education adopted a social studies and history curriculum Friday that amends or waters down the teaching of the civil rights movement, slavery, America’s relationship with the U.N. and hundreds of other items.”
Actually, the SBOE urged teachers to:
• “Analyze Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address and contrast them with the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address. (8th grade U.S. History)”; and
• “Explain instances of institutional racism in American society. (Sociology)”
It turns out that the revised standards are even much milder than what was left in place. “The SBOE should now add that while U. S. History texts must stop ignoring Christianity, high school World History books must cease attacking it,” the Educational Research Analysts of Longview, Texas assert.
Among other things, they score the texts for:
- “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, implying that Christian brutality and Muslim loss of life are significant but Islamic cruelty and Christian deaths are not;
- “In another instance, allotting 89 student text lines to Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings but 159 (almost twice as many) to those of Islam; describing Crusaders’ massacres of European Jews yet ignoring the Muslim Tamerlane’s massacre of perhaps 90,000 coreligionists at Baghdad in 1401, and of perhaps 100,000 Indian POWs at Delhi in 1398; thrice charging medieval Christians with sexism; and saying the Church ‘laid the foundations for anti-Semitism’;
- “In a third instance, spending 139 student text lines on Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings but 176 on those of Islam; claiming Islam ‘brought untold wealth to thousands and a better life to millions,’ while ‘because of [Europeans’ Christian] religious zeal…many peoples died and civilizations were destroyed,’ and contrasting ‘the Muslim concern for cleanliness’ with Swedes in Russia who were ‘the filthiest of God’s creatures.’”
Moreover, the reviewers found in the texts:
- “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 the latter for the same practices (e.g., sexism, slavery, persecution of out-groups) that they treat non-judgmentally, minimize, sugarcoat or censor in the former”; and
- “Sanitized definitions of ‘Jihad’ that exclude religious intolerance or military aggression against non-Muslims, even though Islamic sources often include these among proper meanings of the term, which undergirds current worldwide Muslim terrorism.”
Yet and still, the abuses of Christianity alleged by these texts are past-tense while those of the more radical Islamic regimes on the planet continue to this day and include, but are not limited to, honor killings and slavery itself. Moreover, as we have noted, the Texas standards are of a piece with those laid out by the California Department of Education which actually tries to sanitize the law that, to one degree or other governs all Muslim countries, to the point where the agency actually gives Shariah credit for women’s rights.
In one sense, geography is destiny as sales of textbooks in Texas and California—our two largest states—determine publishers’ offerings to public schools nationwide. Thus, some version of all of the above could be coming to a classroom near you, if it has not already arrived.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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