Tag Archive for: textbooks

VIDEO: Terrorists and Their Textbooks

What do the Boston Bombers have to do with a Holt McDougal textbook titled “Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction” used in their high school?

This brief film illustrates how Islam-biased content in K-12 history and geography textbooks can indoctrinate and radicalize our children, causing some of them to evolve into homegrown terrorists. By quietly getting major textbook publishers to include language that enhances Islam, while demeaning Christianity and Judaism, Islamists are attempting to win the hearts and minds of America’s middle- and high-school students.

In the film, Citizens for National Security (CFNS) connects the dots between our country’s classrooms and acts of terrorism.

RELATED ARTICLE: Dealing with Terrorism without Falling into its Trap

Texas Citizens Cleanse anti-American Bias from Public School Textbooks

On Friday, November 21st something monumental happened in Austin, Texas at the State Board of Education.  The Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT) Coalition changed the perception that average citizens could have a major impact on the content of textbooks for their children.  TTT is a grass roots organization composed of average concerned citizens formed in October 2013 with a simple mission: to insure the proposed social studies textbooks are as error free as possible.

What did these 100 unpaid volunteers do?   They corrected inaccurate or misleading textbooks for 5 million Texas children and found over 1500 errors in 32 textbooks.

These are just a small sample of the errors found:

  • Publishers attempted to push the softer definition of “jihad” as the “struggle to become a better person”. TTT pointed out the facts:  the Quran, Hadith’s (Islamic scholar approved collections of Muhammad’s life) and Mohammad’s biography defines jihad as “violence against infidels in the name of Allah”.  Attempts to re-define is “spin” and not based upon original Islamic sources.
  • Conditions in Cuba are painted as highly beneficial for young people from a healthcare and education standpoint.  Misleading information and half-truths is how TTT characterized this description of life in Cuba with details of other reports and sources providing facts justifying TTT’s position.
  • “It’s easy to get depressed about Climate Change.”Telling a child what emotions to have on a topic is “agenda building”. Only one side of the issue was told. TTT urged both sides but publishers chose to pull the book as the solution. 
  • Many publishers routinely referred to the U.S. form of government as a “democracy”.  The word “democracy” is not found in the constitution nor in any of the 50 state constitutions.  Our form of government is a constitutional republic.  The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is to the Republic for which it stands, not to the democracy for which it stands.
  • Publishers claimed in several instances that Muslims were the original inhabitants of the area we know of as Israel. TTT pointed out Jews inhabited this area hundreds of years before Islam existed.
  • Multiple publishers left out the terms “Islamic jihadist”, “Muslim terrorists” even when the attackers used these terms in describing themselves; no mention that the Barbary pirates were Muslims, no mention the 911 hijackers were Islamic jihadists, the absence of the word “Islamic” when describing the terroristsin the 1983 Lebanon Marine Barrack attacks. If the terrorists know who they are, why won’t publishers use those same terms?
  • Gorbachev had more to do with the Berlin Wall falling than Ronald Reagan according to one publisher; Communism deficiencies downplayed while Western democracies marginalized; TTT was able to get re-writes on these and many other distorted areas.

Publishers attempted to claim many TTT entries were not “errors” but request for “additional content”.  A half-truth or omission of fact does requires additional content for the student to know the “full truth”, not a partial truth. Fortunately the publishers at the direction of the SBOE began to make changes.

November 21, the SBOE approved the final selection of textbooks. One publisher’s entire collection of textbooks was removed from the approval process primarily due to their failure to respond to TTT’s inputs.

Our efforts won’t stop until we analyze all of the publisher’s replies and post them on our website at www.truthintexasttextbooks.com. The public can see the final grade we put on each textbook based upon the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS) compliance rate and how many of the 1500 errors are corrected.

The books will be rated as “Good”, “Acceptable”, “Poor” or “Worse”. This simple report card rating will be easy to understand and assist parents, teachers and school board members as they analyze the books to determine the best textbooks for their children.

Our final report will be out for local school districts (1200+ school districts) as they begin reviewing the 95 social studies textbooks for purchase beginning in early January 2015.  Visiting TTT’s website in the coming weeks will provide interested citizens information on the best textbooks for their children.  Each of the 32 reviews can be found here.

The secret to our success was average citizens who took the time to get trained, dedicate time to the project, accept criticism of their work and work together as a team following TTT procedures.  I can never thank them enough or pass along all the accolades passed to me for their work.

The process has been so effective eight other states have asked for TTT’s protocols to duplicate in their states. Changing textbooks requires entering the review cycle at the right time with the right team. A public conference call for any interested individuals or groups who want more information is scheduled for late January 2015. More details on precise time and call-in information will be on our website beginning in early January 2015.

Publishers want to sell books but making changes before they go to print is the key versus waiting for them to get on the shelves. Please get involved in your children’s future and education, these textbooks are the pathway to their minds and our future.

You can see the testimony of several of our volunteers and the leadership of TTT by going to these YouTube links:

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Fox News.

Get Your Politics Off Our Kids!

The Texas social studies textbook adoption process has turned into a political fight, just as many predicted it would.  That’s a shame.

This past week, a reporter for a local San Antonio news site interviewed us about the politics behind education.  However, when her stories came out, it was party-line politics once again.  Included in her two stories were the following:

  • One article cites, without skepticism, a review by the partisan National Center for Science Education (NCSE) that perpetuates debunked claims about scientific consensus. The NCSE openly attempts to inject its special interest politics into education. It is not a scientific organization.
  • Both articles quote the highly partisan Texas Freedom Network (TFN) as saying that the publishers are not to blame for problems in the textbooks, only the State Board of Education (SBOE) is.  But the TFN has made it very clear that its primary aim is to discredit and defeat politically certain elected members of the SBOE.
  • Finally, one of the articles mimics a TFN complaint about political cartoons that appeared in one proposed text and joked about affirmative action via a story about space aliens.  Apparently, neither the blogger nor TFN realized that this cartoon is provided as a primary source and the lesson is designed to encourage critical thinking about affirmative action.  While the related questions might be lacking, the idea of having a cartoon as a primary source, it is perfectly acceptable to use political cartoons – which will always insult someone – as primary sources in critical thinking exercises.

All textbooks have problems, and many of these proposed Texas textbooks are particularly inaccurate or biased.  The state adoption process should be about correcting these problems before the books are published and handed to students.

It is forever disappointing when partisan groups hijack this process to further their political goals.  In the end, the children suffer when politics and special interest control the content of educational material.  Verity Educate continues to expose these influences and the inaccuracies and biases they perpetuate.


Will Florida’s 67 School Districts empower parents to decide what their children learn, or not?

During the 2014 session the Florida legislature passed, and Governor Rick Scott signed into law, Senate Bill 864. SB 864 took effect on July 1, 1014. All 67 of Florida’s school districts are now in the process of implementing the provisions of this bill. However, some question whether the bill’s intent, to empower parents and stakeholders, will be fully realized.

Sherri Krass, founder of Eye on U.S. Education (EUSE), has done an analysis of SB 864. Krass writes:

Senate Bill 864, sponsored by Senator Alan Hays, initially stated that all counties SHALL create an “instructional materials committee” consisting of parents and teachers. The word SHALL dictates that this must be done. Parents would be able to provide input into the approval of the textbooks used by their children.

Unfortunately, by the time the bill left the House and a “compromise” was agreed upon, the body of the legislation was “hollowed out” – where only a “skeleton” remains of the original legislation.  The legislation now states:

(2)(a) If a district school board chooses to implement its own instructional materials program, the school board shall adopt rules implementing the district’s instructional materials program which must include its processes, criteria, and requirements for the following, but need not be limited to:  1. Selection of reviewers, one or more of whom must be parents with children in public schools.

Therefore, the creation of such a committee falls within the domain of each County School Board.  They can choose to not have one.

The legislation does provide an “opening”. Parents can still insist on a committee being formed.

A date is provided when School Boards have to “certify” the instructional materials.  Textbooks must align with the “Florida Standards” – a pseudonym for “Common Core”.

The district school superintendent shall certify to the department by March 31 of each year that all instructional materials for core courses used by the district are aligned with applicable state standards.   

But, parents can still reject a textbook and insist on another one. Textbooks can be found that align with the “Standards” and are not specifically written for “Common Core”. A major problem with “Common Core” are the textbooks that have been published for it. Rejecting these textbooks is a step forward in removing its influence.

Question: Will every school district empower parents and let them decide what textbooks and instructional materials are best suited for their children?

There are several indicators of a school district’s intent to empower parents and stakeholders in the adoption of textbooks and instructional materials.

  1. The establishment of a district Instructional Materials Committee, codified in district policy;
  2. Who selects the committee members, the Superintendent or School Board;
  3. The makeup of the committee (e.g. do parents or district staff have the majority of votes on the committee);
  4. Has the district established a fair and equitable process whereby parents can file a complaint directly to the local District School Board requesting rejection of a committee educational materials selection.

I asked Lori White, Superintendent of the Sarasota County Schools, if an Instructional Materials Committee would be formed and if so, when? Here is Superintendent White’s reply:

It is our intent to continue to participate in the state adoption process as outlined in the School Board policy 4.21. Our current policy requires that one or more laypersons participate in the district council. In most cases, these community members are parents with children in the system. Our School Board policy will be revised to incorporate the new requirements outlined in SB 864 regarding the process for a parent to protest the School Board’s decision to adopt a specific instructional material.

Krass wants to make sure parents are empowered and has asked Floridians to sign a petition stating so to Governor Scott and Florida’s legislators. Krass states, “EUSE suggests that a petition be submitted to each County School Board stating that parents want an ‘instructional Materials Committee’ to be formed.”

Krass has an online petition asking the Florida legislature to amend SB 864 to “require” that school districts establish a district Instructional Materials Committee. Interested citizens may sign the petition by clicking here.

America’s New Textbooks are Coming

In just six months, the state of Texas will adopt new social studies textbooks and educational materials for its five million students.  Approximately 50 new textbooks and 100 workbooks, CDs, and other educational materials will be put before the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for approval in November.  The committee’s determinations are not only essential in Texas, where the state purchases almost all educational materials for its school districts, but for the nation at large.  As a bulk purchaser of over 150 million textbooks, the Texas market is substantial enough to influence the textbook publishers themselves.  Major publishers align the content of textbooks offered nation-wide to comply with Texas’ requests in order to ensure their books have a place in this substantial market.

What happens in Texas does not stay in Texas, but impacts parents, teachers, and students around the nation.  The textbooks that the SBOE chooses in November could very easily be on the desks in middle schools and high schools around the country in 2015.  It behooves citizens across the country to pay attention to the choices Texas will make and to understand the content of the books.

So, how is Texas planning to decide which textbooks to adopt?

In January, the SBOE changed the rules for its review process to mostly exclude individuals who are not Texas teachers or professors from reviewing textbooks.  The selection process has become more opaque and the standards for review unknown to those outside the process.  The public only knows that reviewers will meet for a week in Austin over the summer and are instructed not to discuss the process with outsiders (including publishers).  According to a Star-Telegram article, we do know that the changes are specifically designed to prevent citizens from raising controversial issues at the November hearings.

The public does not know who will be chosen to review the textbooks, the degree of scrutiny the books will face, or if the review process will even examine factual accuracy, objectivity, and overall content responsibility.  Newer textbooks, especially the slew of new material now marketed under the aegis of “Common Core,” contain an alarming degree of inaccurate material and need to be scrutinized and analyzed by independent experts who are guided by honesty and objectivity.  An independent review of these educational materials is crucial for students, parents, the education system, and our civic society.

Residents of Texas and other states should be alarmed that such important decisions will be made essentially “under the radar” of the citizenry.  A group of citizens called “Truth in Texas Textbooks,” under the leadership of Lt. Col. Roy White is leading an effort to bring citizen input to the SBOE.  This group has been planning and organizing since the fall of 2013 and is committed to making citizens’ voices heard.

At Verity Educate, we are working hard to provide parents, communities, and schools with the information they need to know about the content of these new textbooks.  Our experts – independent, non-partisan scholars – review material in their specialized content areas.  Textbooks are examined line-by-line for factual inaccuracies and content objectivity.  The in-depth reports we compile note every error, explain biased material, and examine the impact of particular inaccuracies on students’ education.  We spend up to 60 hours reviewing each book, researching the facts, and compiling reports.  How can the SBOE complete a thorough review of all the textbooks in one week?

Because the state will be coming to the November hearings with reviews from its hand-picked expert panels, citizens must also arm themselves with credible, authoritative, and scholarly evidence.  Some of the textbooks up for adoption will be great – factual, objective, and honest.  However, other textbooks will be inaccurate, biased, and un-truthful.  It is important for citizens to be informed about the content of these books before their adoption by the state of Texas and before the books come home in students’ backpacks.  When parents, taxpayers, and citizens inform themselves about the content of these books they can have input with their schools boards, state boards of education, and elected representatives.

An education riddled with factual inaccuracies and biased content affects the heart of our civic society.  When factual accuracy is not accounted for, students will grow into citizens lacking the most basic historical knowledge.  When presented, over and over, with biased content and one-sided arguments students fail to develop critical thinking skills.  The effects of a poor history education are playing out as we speak.  Influential leaders bring their ignorance of key historical events like the Monroe Doctrine and the Crimean War to the attention of the world through their actions and their speech.  When history is taught incorrectly, the nation suffers.

If you are interested in learning more about the content of new textbooks and efforts to ensure accuracy and objectivity, visit www.VerityEducate.org.  Follow us on twitter @VerityEducate and Facebook for regular updates.