US DOJ Cancels School Board Meeting Amid Protests Over Common Core Book
There is a controversy brewing in Volusia County, Florida over a particular textbook used to teach World History in the high school.
Prentice Hall, World History textbook was discussed by Todd Sterns on Sean Hannity’s show. It includes 36 pages devoted to Islam and a major chapter, but no chapters on any other religion. Prentice Hall is owned by Pearson.
The book was selected by Volusia County schools because it was aligned to Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS). These mandated standards are established by the Florida Department of Education and are phase III of the Common Core. The Next Generation Label is used by the Common Core Consortia for the Science and Social Studies standards the are intended to follow the adoption of Math and English language Common Core standards.
Parents had planned to protest at the school board’s meeting, but the meeting was cancelled in the interest of public safety. The school district was contacted by the United States Department of Justice over safety concerns due to the parent protest and had the school board cancel the meeting. This shows the degree of federal control over the implementation of the Common Core curriculum.
Parent and taxpayer concerns relate to the intense and glorified view of Islam in the text. The book in question contains pages of quotes from the Quran, but nothing from the Bible or the Torah. Mohammed is declared a prophet, but the deity of Jesus is called into question in the few passages that even mention Jesus. But there are more subtle instances too. For example, Christians “massacre” but Muslims “occupy.” Jihad is described as an act protecting Islam, and the text describes women in Islamic cultures in a way that is wholly inaccurate.
Groups that traditionally fight against religious references in schools, such as the ACLU, are amazingly silent on the issue.
Pearson is defending their textbook as fair and unbiased. The Institute on Religious and Civic Values served as a consultant on the book. However, that organization only recently changed their name. They were formerly called the Council on Islamic Education. The name changed occurred to help the organization appear ‘mainstream’ when they pursue consulting contracts from textbook publishers.
The Prentice Hall book above is by no means the only book with Islamic bias. According to Citizens for National Security (CFNS), there are over 80 textbooks in use that have significant muslim bias. Florida is ground zero for many of the battles regarding pr0-Islamic bias because nearly one-third of all textbook sales are to the Florida education system.
The CFNS has done significant reporting on Islamic bias in textbooks used in our nation’s schools. In their initial 2009 report, CFNS focused exclusively on “flawed” K-12 history and geography textbooks. As CFN notes,
Flawed textbooks were defined, within the context of this study, as those that include egregious
errors, glaring omissions, questionable inclusions, or political, ethnic, cultural and other
biases that clearly seek to foster an Islamic agenda.
Typical examples of Islamic bias across 80 textbooks currently in use across the United States. A common a sign of bias is how Israel referenced on the maps in the books. In “flawed” texts, Israel is often labeled as Palestine. The name Israel goes back to Genesis 23; the term Palestine 5th century BC by Greek to refer to the area as a district of Syria. One might expect a historical map of the Alexander the Great to call the area Palestine, but not a map of the middle east in contemporary times.
Another common example noted by the CFN in textbooks is that Israel is not a legitimate state established by the United Nations. They report,
A common theme in many of these textbooks is the implication that Israel is not a truly
legitimate state and that Jews only were permitted to settle there in 1947 because of
world sympathy following the Holocaust. The flawed textbooks argue that Israel claimed
land by force and then illegally evicted Palestinians from their homes. Then they
inaccurately imply that there were negotiations over Palestinian refugees in which Israel
refused Arab proposals for the refugees’ return or the payment of compensation.
CFNS has a 100 page report that looks at major issues in several of the leading World History texts that shows how the text should be supplemented or changed to be historically correct. It is produced to help educators and parents set the record straight in social studies classes. It is available for free for interested parents and teachers from their website.
Author’s Note: Why isn’t anyone raising the issue of the establishment clause in this matter? The establishment clause of the first amendment precludes the state from establishing a religion. By covering one religion and not others, the government in effect establishes a state religion. The argument has been used to remove Christianity from schools; why could it not be used to remove Islam?