Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Textbooks are a Battle for the Mind

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
There are many battles for the minds of our children, none more poignant then the content in our children's textbooks. It shapes the beliefs---the minds of our kids.

A very important and contentious process is underway in Texas to decide what will and will not be in textbooks that will be used for perhaps the next ten years. Because Texas is one of the largest markets in the country, most all publishers pretty much follow their lead in producing textbooks for the rest of the nation.

Decisions being made now will provide guidelines to teach history and social studies to some 4.8 million kids, K-12, for up to 10 years and will also be the standard by which state tests will be set.

The ideological battles are underway.

Committees of teachers and experts have crafted first round proposals.

One of the initial recommendations was to include the study of Aesop's Fables for second graders, but to remove Christmas from a list of religious holidays and observances in a 6th grade world culture class.

Why are you not surprised? An outcry from many reversed that notion.

Another flash point has been over how much emphasis should be given to the religious beliefs of America's founders.

There is a group that is strongly recommending that textbooks must emphasize the constitutional separation of church and state---not to worry that the typical teaching on that subject is flawed because it is incorrectly extrapolated from a letter written by Jefferson to the Baptists.

Kelly Shackelford, a rock solid Christian conservative whom I've met a couple of times and president of the conservative Free Market Foundation, has involved himself in the process.

He says, "We are concerned that some extremists are pressuring the board to censor and forbid students from learning about the religious heritage of our country and the faith of historical figures, including our Founding Fathers."

The other side is, of course, imploring the board to invoke separation of church and state and teach their flawed version.

Because of the heated debate over these and other issues, the board has put the scheduled vote off until March, with a final vote most likely in May.

We will keep you posted as this process proceeds.

Be prayerful. Be vigilant. Be vocal.

Gary Randall
Faith & Freedom

Click here to add these blogs to your email inbox.