Dumbing Down American Students: Really Bad Textbooks (cont'd)
errors in textbooks are bad enough, but textbooks really get bad when
you begin to add the politically correct, morally just censorship many
groups who influence the school systems insist on. Imagine what it must
be like to have to deal with textbooks like this everyday.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
is basically the editing, removing, or otherwise changing speech
and other forms of human expression. In some cases, it is exercised
by governing bodies but it is always and continuously carried out
by the mass media. The visible motive of censorship is often to
stabilize, improve or persuade the society group that the censoring
organization would have control over. It is most commonly applied
to acts that occur in public circumstances, and most formally involves
the suppression of ideas by criminalizing or regulating expression.
The content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, since
their target audience is young people, and the term "whitewashing"
is the one commonly used to refer to selective removal of critical
or damaging evidence or comment.[read
History of Book Publishing - Censorship to Consolidation
Question: What do these books have in common?
Red Riding Hood
Adventures in Wonderland
of a Young Girl
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
in the Rye
These books, along with and scores of others, have been censored
in the United States.
In case you're wondering why, let's just consider the first one.
Little Red Riding Hood has been censored because original versions
included "wine" as a gift to grandma.
Textbook orders represent millions of dollars in sales for book
publishers. Consequently, publishers are very sensitive to what
consumers (primarily school boards) want and don't want.
Some groups — again primarily conservative religious and political
groups — have made major efforts to get control of school
boards so that they can eliminate readings that are not consistent
with their own views.
After feedback from school boards, publishers sometimes "suggest"
to their authors that sections of their manuscripts be added, deleted,
or altered. This has been a particular issue with history, social
studies, and biology textbooks. Theories of creation and sexual
information have been major issues.
Texas has been especially active in this regard. Conservative groups
that have taken over many textbook selection committees often object
to passages in texts. In 2002, one textbook was rejected because
it revealed that during the time Texas was being settled, the state
had 50,000 prostitutes....[read
in the Classroom
The key to the success of a democracy is a well-educated electorate.
This fact makes what students learn, and the quality of their education
one of the most important issues facing our country today. What
exactly though is being used to teach the future of our country?
In many classrooms textbooks provide the core information students
will learn. The startling truth about this main and often only source
of information is that they are frequently sanitized and politicized,
sacrificing fact in the process. What is presented as fact is often
fiction. Other books are banned completely, or edited beyond recognition.
Censorship has quietly wormed its way into American schools, and
is eating away at what is being taught to students. It takes many
forms, from self-censorship to the institutionalized censorship
found in textbooks....
Who decides what goes into textbooks? Texas, California, and the
Gablers Pressure groups on both the left and right of the political
spectrum have an extreme amount of influence in deciding what goes
Ever since the 1960's, any textbook company wanting to successfully
publish a book in Texas has to meet the requirements of Mel and
Norma Gabler. The Gablers reviewed textbooks looking for any shred
of anti-Christian, anti-family, leftist, or anti-American content.
Because of their ability to arouse public support and outrage,
textbook companies often complied with their demands to prevent
any confrontation. Criticism of tradition or the nation, violence,
indecency", alienation, death, "humanism", "one-worldism",
and "women's lib" are among the topics they found unfit...[read
Gablers Mission Statement:
We are a conservative Christian organization that reviews public
school textbooks submitted for adoption in Texas. Our reviews have
national relevance because Texas state-adopts textbooks and buys
so many that publishers write them to Texas standards and sell them
across the country.
Our unique 45 years' experience gives us expertise equal to or beyond
that of the education establishment itself in all phases of the
public school textbook adoption process, and in that our standard
review criteria spell out what public school textbooks often censor
on certain topics.
Publishers market textbooks — and many teachers select them
— based on convenience of their teaching aids. Unlike them,
we review textbooks for academic content only. Parents, teachers,
and school board members can all profitably use our materials.
Subject areas of concern include:
Scientific weaknesses in evolutionary theories
Phonics-based reading instruction
Principles and benefits of free enterprise
Original intent of the U.S. Constitution
Respect for Judeo-Christian morals
Emphasis on abstinence in sex education
Politically-correct degradation of academics
book reviews are here:
was shocking to me that one family had so much control over textbook content
in Texas. It's really shocking to me that No Child Left Behind has nothing
in it about the quality or accuracy textbooks or textbook reviews with
one of the biggest supporters of it being from Texas. I was concerned
that even today this kind of censorship still exists there and dug further
into Texas textbook review and found this:
Mess With Textbooks - Texas
NOTE: As of IMPORTANT NEWS! September 18, 2006 - The Texas Attorney
General Has Written an Opinion That Refuses to Return the State
Board's Pre-1995 Authority Over Specific Textbook Content
The new Opinion is a major victory for Texas citizens and the Texas
economy, since students--future knowledge workers--will continue
to use high-quality textbooks free of political and religious censorship...[read
on] (from Texas
Citizens for Science)
the date. I wonder how bad the textbooks have been up to this date....
I also wondered what the high school dropput rate was in Texas and began
to research that idea and found a similar result in manysources. So I
high school graduation rate is lower than the National Average.
from a San Antonio paper:
behind others in grads
Web Posted: 06/21/2006 , Karen Adler, Express-News
From the article:
the 2002-03 school year, Texas had a graduation rate of 66.8 percent,
compared with the national average of 69.6 percent, according
to the report "Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation
Policy and Rates."
high school graduation rate is below the national average and
vastly lower than the Texas Education Agency has reported
Of 50 states and the District of Columbia, Texas ranked 35th in
graduation rates, according to the study.
Hispanic students in Texas have a 57.8 percent graduation rate,
compared with the national average of 55.6 percent. And black
students have a 59.9 percent rate, compared with the national
average of 51.6 percent.
could take the idea of errors and especially censorship in textbooks one
step further in that if all of the ideas that actually might make a student
think are removed, you lose the interest of the student and they potentially
become a dropout, or worse, disinterested in learning all together.
Are you interested in reading your kids textbooks yet?
The good news is that as a parent there are resources you can turn to
to take an informed and intelligent look at the textbooks your kids are
Web site of The Textbook League is a resource for middle-school and
high-school educators. It provides commentaries
on some 200 items, including textbooks, curriculum manuals, videos
and reference books. Most of the commentaries appeared originally
in the League's bulletin, The Textbook Letter.
list of schoolbooks that spread religious
propaganda: Religious preaching makes these books unfit for
use in public schools
by William J. Bennetta
Consumer's Guide to High School History Textbooks
by Diane Ravitch, Thomas B. Fordham Institute,
A Consumer's Guide to High School History Textbooks is a summary review
of 12 widely used U.S. and world history textbooks.
of 12 Middle School Physical Science Texts
by John L. Hubisz, Ph.D , for The David and Lucile
purpose of this grant was to review and critique the physical science
in Middle School grades 6, 7, 8, and 9 science textbooks with regard
to the scientific accuracy, adherence to an accurate portrayal of
the scientific approach, and the appropriateness and pedagogic effectiveness
of the material presented for the particular grade level.
can you do if you find a textbook that isn't good enough?
one thing homeschoolers have found out is that as parents we have the
right to demand stellar education and we take that matter into our own
hands by homeschooling. Once you take that plunge you realize that the
myth of the almighty school system having all the power over your kids
is gone. You win your rights back as a parent. If your kids are in a school,
though it might be an uphill battle, you can get a textbook selection
changed. You are the parent, you are responsible for what your kid is
learning in school. If the book is bad, demand a better one. It will take
a bit of perseverance on your part, but it can be done if you want it
remember to remind the school system that homeschooling is always an option....
Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn
by Diane Ravitch
Publishers Weekly Looking at lawsuits, school board hearings and
private correspondence between textbook editors, Ravitch, a professor
of education at New York University, shows how publishers are squeezed
by pressure from groups on the right (which object to depictions
of disobedience, family conflict, sexuality, evolution and the supernatural)
and the left (which correct for the racism and sexism of older textbooks
by urging stringent controls on language and images to weed out
possibly offensive stereotypes)-most publishers have quietly adopted
both sets of suggestions.
Johnny Shouldn`t Read: Textbook Censorship in America
by Joan DelFattor
Wielding an influence far out of proportion to their numbers, according
to the author, well-funded ultraconservative activists have used
federal lawsuits and intimidation in an attempt to censor textbooks
and to color elementary and secondary school education with their
views on everything from minorities to nontraditional sex roles,
gun control, evolution, holistic health, anti-pollution laws and
religious tolerance. DelFattore argues that these fundamentalists
target not only multiculturalism, globalism and environmentalism
but also the right of students to think for themselves.
by Lee Burress, Nicholas J. Karolides , John M. Kean
This collection of sixty-three essays provides assistance to the
growing number of students, teachers, librarians, and parents who
find themselves confronting a censorship situation. The contributors
are both authors--of fiction, drama, and poetry for adults, children,
and adolescents--and teachers of literature, writing about the books
that are most frequently challenged in schools and libraries. Part
I provides six authors' perspectives on censorship by omission and
commission. Part II provides responses and defenses of individual
books. Arranged alphabetically by the title of the text, and others
to teaching concerns. The array is enlightening.
Books II: Critical Viewpoints, by
Nicholas J. Karolides
Beautifully reasoned arguments support the teaching of books that
are frequently challenged by would-be censors. Author Karolides
has chosen a wide range of literature, from the contemporary bestselling
Harry Potter books to Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Some books are
challenged in the name of political correctness; others because
of concern over violent or sexual content. The rationales, written
by authors themselves, librarians, and teachers, examine the value
of each work as literature, its content relative to societal values,
and the always thorny issue of what material actually constitutes
"suitable" reading for young people. For librarians, teachers,
and parents-and anyone concerned with young people and intellectual
The Privilege of Education...
work hard, get good grades, do community service, participate in extra-curricular,
score perfectly on t he SAT and can't get into Harvard. Why not? Daddy
doesn't make enough money or have enough clout.
Ovitz applied to Brown University, but "was not even in the range
of the normal stretch that Brown would make for children of the wealthy
and powerful." But he was granted a place at Brown. Although Christopher
Ovitz lasted only a year, according to Golden, Brown has reaped the ongoing
rewards from Ovitz and his extensive Hollywood contacts.Christopher Ovitz
is the son of former Hollywood agent and president of Walt Disney, Michael
Privilege of Education
By MARTIN BASHIR, Nov. 2, 2006
Harvard. Yale. Princeton. How Much Does a Name-Brand Education Amount
Jian Li was the perfect student. Incredibly, he got a perfect score
on his SATs....He applied to Harvard, Princeton, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, and Stanford, among other places and didn't get into
any of those colleges....
Yet, he soon became aware that other high school students with lower
SAT scores had sailed past him. [read
you next Month -- OldSage