In early 2011, I became involved with the Florida Textbook Action Team with information that was supplied to us by Dr. William A. Saxton, Chairman of the Citizens for National Security (CFNS). Based on this group’s 13 month research into the History/Social Studies books being used in Florida schools and in schools around the country today, we as a group engaged in contacting our local school boards protesting the textbooks favoring Islam over Christianity and Judaism. We also protested the textbooks’ presentation of an unfair view of history, particularly with regard to the policies of the U.S. and Israel.
The report identified approximately 30 textbooks used in Florida public schools with instances of bias, inaccuracies, and purposeful omissions. The report alleges that students are being given flawed information about the history of Islam, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Middle East, and Islamist extremist threats worldwide. It included over 200 quotations from the list of textbooks that CFNS shows are biased and/or inaccurate.
One example in the report is when a textbook states, “Women, as wives and mothers, have an honored position in Saudi society.” Another article states, “The land now called Palestine consists of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.”
Dr.Saxton stated, “Although agenda-based campaigns to shape textbook content have existed for some time, the past decade has seen particularly aggressive, intense overt and stealth efforts by proponents of Islam to inject their beliefs into K-12 classrooms via textbooks.”
Just last year, parents in Bedford, NH pulled their son out of his local high school after the teen was assigned a book that refers to Jesus Christ as a “wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist.” “Nickel and Dimed: (On Not) Getting By in America,” was a required reading assignment for the high school’s finance class. The book is a first-person account of author Barbara Ehrenreich’s attempts to make ends meet while working minimum wage jobs in Florida, Maine, and Minnesota. In addition to taking aim at the idea of the American Dream and arguing for a higher minimum wage, Ehrenreich also takes aim at Christians and other groups in the book and uses foul language — all of which made this NH family very unhappy. Complaints were made to the Principal and Bedford School Board with basically deaf ears.
Florida found last year when we complained to the School Districts about the textbooks that the blame for the textbooks chosen flowed back and forth between County school districts and the FL Dept. of Education (FDOE) as to who was responsible for the books that were chosen. In the NH case, roughly three weeks after the complaint was filed, a review committee assembled by the school district ruled that despite its shortcomings, “the book provided valuable insight into the circumstances of the working poor and an opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of the ‘Financial Impact’ competency.”
Ironically, states are passing more and more laws addressing parental input and responsibility in regard to education, but when push comes to shove and parents lodge complaints, they are ignored or told that “they do not understand.” This has been the case with both the local school boards and the State Education Departments.
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