DALLAS, Texas — The ideological battle over the Texas Social Studies textbook adoption process is inching towards a showdown as the State Board of Education (SBOE) convenes to hear public comment on the classroom learning materials followed by reviewer reports and the board’s recommendations for history, geography and civics books. It’s all part of the state’s multi-month review process that is meant to be transparent but leftwing attack dogs are trying to convince Americans that school books have been taken hostage by rightwing fundamental evangelicals, according to Politico with an assist from the Washington Post.
Only it hasn’t. There is bias in the books and it’s rampant but it’s coming from education progressives. According to Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, expert on accuracyand unbiased textbooks, who reviewed the Texas textbooks. She chairs National Hadassah’s Curriculum Watch and oversees the textbook review programs for ACT! for America, and the independent think tank Textbook Alert.
Alfonsi spoke to Breitbart Texas, providing repeated distortions and omissions, half-truths massaged into fiction that radically shifted our understanding of historical events.
For example, a Southern Methodist University professor, who was commissioned to review books for the uber-liberal Texas Freedom Network (TFN), lamented over negative textbook depictions of Islam, according to Politico.
However, Alfonsi was gravely concerned because she was finding the opposite phenomenon happening — scrubbed textbooks that often concealed the “violent aspects of Islam.” She stressed that the sanitized version “doesn’t do justice to what is modern terrorism.”
This is the kind of fight to expect from the Battleground Texas minded in their concerted campaign to turn Texas Democrat in the November election. They are hurling the school books with exaggerated claims and isolated arguments supported by liberal professors who TFN paid to review the books.
Somehow their reviewers missed passages that cited the United States as a “represented federal democracy” with a “living growing constitution;” they missed the Tea Party being ripped as a fringe element of the radical right “that congregates “under the flag of militant anticommunism,” alleging that patriots “would not hesitate to use the government’s police power to enforce the changes they desire.”
They also somehow missed passages that said Cuba had economic freedom, and that the Bible was full of “stories” while the Koran was the “word of God.” Miraculously, they found Moses and Phyllis Schlafly written into the TEKS, the state education standards. Far more troubling to Alfonsi, though, was that the textbooks taught Islamic Holocaust revisionism.
Watchdog group Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT), who volunteered their time to perform an independent review, found textbooks ignored the US government’s role in the housing market collapse or only highlighted the happy parts of renewable energy, omitting the Solyndra bankruptcy and tax dollars squandered. Textbook also omitted the contributions of white people, especially Jews, in the formation of the NAACP. However, when it came to trashing the Tea Party, all subterfuge was disbanded and the name calling began.
Alfonsi found a heavy liberal hand over the proposed textbooks For example, in McGraw Hill’s United States History Since 1877, the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were depicted as “the use of violence by nongovernmental groups to achieve a political goal.”
Alfonsi called this a half-truth. “Terrorism is not limited to nongovernmental groups and there are also governments which engage in state-sponsored terrorism against their own people and also in international terrorism,” she reviewed. She added that the statement misleads when in fact, “Islamic terrorist organizations are typically led by the most highly educated people in the Muslim world.
The passage ignored that wealthy ruling Muslim families are one of the main sources of funding for Islamic Jihadist activities, Alfonsi noted.
She also identified the subtleties of revisionist history in the same book.
Excerpt: “On September 11, 2001, two passenger jets slammed into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Soon afterward,a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Within about two hours, the World Trade Center collapsed in a billow of dust and debris, killingnearly 3,000 people. The airplanes did not crash accidentally. Hijackers deliberately flew them into the buildings. Hijackers had also seized a fourthairplane. Passengers on that flight had cell phones and had learned of the earlier attacks. Four passengers decided to fight the
Missing, according to Alfonsi, was the fact that the terrorists were not identified as Muslims or Islamic Jihadists. There was no explanation why they targeted the World Trade Centerand the Pentagon or, as Alfonsi stated, “that unmentioned third target ‘on the ground’ which was the White House.”
Omission of fact is troubling. It’s rampant. Alfonsi cited another passage “Muhammad taught Muslims to be tolerant of People of the Book” as a factual error.
She explained that Muslims “explicitly considered” Jews and Christians as spiritually inferiors. They didn’t have the same religious freedoms. “Frequently, the burdens place on Christians and Jews were onerous,” she added.
In Pearson’s Contemporary World History, 2014, Alfonsi found another fib that read: In “non-representative governments, such as Saudi Arabia, the government recognizes an official religion. Saudi citizens have a duty not to practice any other religion in public.”
The scholar noted, “Non-compliance to Islam is punishable by death under Shari’a Law whether at home or in public.”
Alfonsi also highlighted the word ‘duty’ as a sanitized choice, implying only a moral or legal obligation or a responsibility.
Books under review included Houghton Mifflin Harcourt World Geography (High School), McGraw Hill US History to 1877 (Grade 8), EdmentumWorld History Since 1815 (High School), Worldview World History (High School), Worldview American History II: Post-Civil War America to the Present (HighSchool), Edmentum US History (High School), Perfection Basic Principles of American Government (High School), McGraw Hill US Government (High School) andEdmentum US Government (High School).
TTT Research Director Pat Blair also shared more bias examples from their review:
McGraw Hill US History to 1877 (Grade 8)
Excerpt: “A voting dispute in Florida also affected the 2000 presidential election. An extremely close vote count led to a bitter dispute between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore over whether and how to recount the ballots. The dispute kept either party from gaining enough electoral votes to win the election. This time, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling helped make Bush the winner and president.”
Findings: Omission of fact, half-truth and bias which left out that Bush had a small margin but had the most votes on the first count. The Florida Secretary of State declared Bush the winner of the states 25 Electoral votes. Then, a US Supreme Court ruling decided in a controversial 5-4 decision that a recount was not proper and Bush was declared the winner, although the Florida Supreme Court had granted Gore a recount in four counties of his choosing.
Worldview World History (High School)
Excerpt: “Political democracy is seen by many as the means to achieve the equally important goals of social democracy (the right to an education, equality, and freedom from discrimination) and economic democracy (the right to choose the type of employment, to own property, and to be guaranteed a reasonable wage and financial security).”
Findings: Editorial opinion stated as fact and half-truth. The first part of this quote is an opinion, not fact, that the goals of social and economic democracy are equally important as those of political democracy. The last part of the quote is both contradictory and erroneous. Choosing employment and owning property are characteristics of individual liberty and free markets, i.e. political democracy. Guarantees of wages and financial security are traits of regulated markets. The text omits that “economic democracy” is a recently coined phrase with no commonly accepted definition. A capitalist definition is that “economic democracy refers to a society in which all persons have equal rights to work, produce, invest, and buy and sell in a free market.
Even maps were wrong. Houghton Harcourt Mifflin’s World Geography (High School) measured the US Mojave Desert at 15,000 sq. miles, the Namibia at 52,000, and the Kalahari at about 100,000. However, the Mojave is 25,000 sq. mi, the Namibia is 31,200, and the Kalahari is 360,000.
Later this Fall, TTT will release their completed Texas Textbook findings.
On top of the textbooks, Politico trounced Texas education standards. One in particular (TEC 28.002) requires that students get an educational understanding of the “importance of patriotism, function in a free enterprise society, and appreciate the basic democratic values of our state andnation.”
However, behind the story is TFN president Kathy Miller. Her beef isn’t just the textbooks. It’s the SBOE; it’s the adoption process that encourages those pesky parents and Average Joes to participate on review panels. She threw a tantrum last year, too, when the science books were up for review, attacking state board chair Barbara Cargill, a certified science teacher who taught high-school biology in Texas public education.
Breitbart Texas previously reported on Miller’s tirade over the textbooks, noting that her hardcore agenda is best illustrated by her signature TFN activist group Texas Rising that scours Texas college campuses to find students they can cultivate into “an emerging generation of social justice-minded” vital to the future of “progressive public policy in Texas.”
In addressing the textbook process, Miller misleadingly told Politico, “districts must certify to the state that their purchases cover every element of the state’s academic standards.”
Not true. Cargill confirmed that only 50% of the TEKS have to be accounted for during the textbook review process. The SBOE approved list is no longer the only way to choose instructional materials. This is because of legislation passed in 2011, Senate Bill 6, co-authored by liberal Democrat Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, running for Lt. Governor. SB 6 ultimately tied the SBOE’s hands, as was pointed out in the Politico article by the current board Vice Chair.
Another omitted fact was that Texas, despite approximately 5 million public school students, no longer dominates the textbook publishing market. Besides SB 6 moving the state onto e-books, the market is controlled by the combined total of Common Core states, which may well explain why so much progressive education is so rampant in Texas textbooks even though the state rejected the Common Core. Breitbart Texas has reported repeatedly on Fed Led Ed’s reach into the Lone Star state.
Politico did take a moment to accuse conservatives of “launching an “all out war” against the Common Core, although the Stop Common Core movement is neither right or left but both. Then, they held up the Fordham Institute like a rightwing trophy but truth is, the institute’s conservatively challenged. Breitbart Texas reported in the original TFN article that Fordham openly embraced the Common Core.
In the end, while Politico fixated on the Tea Party and the Washington Post, the religious right, the most disturbing fact of all of these findings is that history is being manipulated, muted and erased. One day, there will be no other side of a story, all because of the ever-present progressive chokehold on public education.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.