Texas Ed Board Targets ‘Pro-Islamic Bias’

Need more evidence that Texas State Board of Education members are more interested in promoting “culture war” politics than ensuring schoolchildren get a quality education? Just months after politicizing new social studies curriculum standards for public schools, the state board next week will consider a resolution criticizing publishers for allegedly promoting anti-Christian and pro-Islamic bias in world history textbooks. Not surprisingly, this ill-considered resolution is filled with superficial, misleading and half-baked claims designed simply to promote fear and religious prejudice.

That’s right. Board members couldn’t go more than one meeting without once again dragging the state’s reputation through the mud with another manufactured and intentionally divisive “controversy.” Is it really so hard to focus on just educating Texas schoolchildren?

Click here to read the resolution and a Texas Freedom Network analysis. Here are the highlights:

In July a failed Republican candidate for the state board, former Odessa school board president Randy Rives, proposed the resolution to board members. Here’s a video clip from the discussion in July:

More after the jump.

Members of the board’s far-right faction asked that the resolution be placed on the agenda for next week’s meeting (September 22-24) in Austin. The measure alleges that textbooks spend more time discussing Islam than Christianity and cast Christianity in a negative light while “whitewashing” and “sanitizing” discussions of Islam. The resolution also claims that “more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are now doing.” The resolution warns:

“(T)he SBOE will look to reject future prejudicial Social Studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world’s major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and/or by demonizing or lionizing one or more of the mover others. . . .”

Yet an analysis of the resolution and of textbooks used in Texas classrooms shows that the measure’s claims are highly misleading and in many cases plainly false. For example, the resolution grossly understates the amount of coverage textbooks give to Christianity. In fact, it ignores entire textbook sections that deal with Christianity, including chapters and passages on the Reformation, Christian influences during the Renaissance and on the political evolution of Europe, canon law and church reform. Claims that textbooks ignore or whitewash atrocities committed in history by Islamic leaders and Islam’s treatment of women and slaves in history are similarly half-baked. One textbook refers, for example, to the massacre by a Muslim leader of 100,000 Hindu prisoners after a 14th century battle. Another notes that the same leader created a “pyramid of skulls” from those killed in the massacre. The textbooks also plainly discuss the treatment of women and slaves in Islamic societies over time.

The warning about Middle Eastern investors is an especially bizarre example of the resolution’s wild-eyed paranoia. In fact, Arab investors in 2009 put money into one major publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, that is headed by an Irish businessman and registered in the British Cayman Islands. Yet we have heard no charges that the company’s textbooks are promoting a pro-Irish or pro-British bias. Do the resolution’s backers seriously believe that Arab investors are more likely to risk their money by trying to politicize textbooks?

Once again, click here to read the resolution and our analysis for yourself. But this new episode of state board nonsense is more evidence that teachers and scholars, not politicians, should be making decisions about what millions of Texas children learn in our public schools.

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17 Comments

  1. Charles
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Ah!!! Thank you.

  2. Charles
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    So, what happened? I thought the Texas SBOE was supposed to meet today and vote on that weirdo resolution about Islam in textbooks. Did they meet? Did they vote. Did you cover it? Why did you post an old post as your new article post for today? Why are some Amazon basin frogs poisonous? Perplexed.

    • Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      The vote is tomorrow, Charles. We moved the old post up because there’s been a lot of national press on this, and our traffic is up. It will be easier for visitors to learn about what’s happening.

  3. Charles
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    It appears that some of our recent posters here on TFN Insider, such as Terry MacIntosh and his associates, have read this report. The bulleted conclusions at the end of this report were essentially the main talking points in their posts.

  4. Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    It is all too easy to laugh and ridicule the Far Right. They expect it and wallow in it for it makes them victims of multi-culturalism, socialism, and ismism. Victim status entitles the victim to not only a wallow, but rage, and accompanying manipulative disinformation. The default anti-satan mode is to shout and to decieve.

    The Battle of SBOE is a relatively small part of a well funded centrally designed and comprehensive psychological warfare operation that loaths and despises the Congress, the Supreme Court and (the current) President. This current plot is very similar to the “Business Plot” of 1933 in which a group of conservative industricals tried to hire Marine General Smedley Butler to form an American version of the Brown Shirts of Germany or Black shirts of Italy and to stage a Putsch to overthrow FDR. He blew the whistle.

    There was a smiliar effort in late 1941 that was drowned in the waves stirred up in Pearl Harbor.

    For details on the current campaign see the following version or manifesto of the frustrated publish by the Center for Security Policy called “Shariah, the Threat to America”. This study is endorsed by a number of retired flag rank officers including LTG Boykin.

    http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18523.xml

  5. Cytocop CT(ASCP)
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Yes, but those are Roman numerals. The problem with Roman numerals is that they were used before Rome was Christian, weren’t they? Wasn’t Rome pagan when letters doubled as numerals? If so, that too would be a problem. You’ve got to find bonafide CHRISTIAN numerals.

  6. Charles
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. What was with those Roman guys anyway? Their numbers were letters. Lets do some multiplication:

    DCLXVI x MCMLXV = ________

    Just looking at it gives me a headache.

  7. Coragyps
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    “Does anyone here know anything about the Christian Neo-Fundamentalist numerals and equations? I sure would like to see them!!!!’

    DCLXVI is the only important number they claim, Charles.

  8. Coragyps
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Who would be surprised if I told you all that Rives is a creationist? He said as much in ’08 at a Republican candidate forum in Lubbock.

  9. CapnKrik
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    If I was a student, I’d be all for doing away with those Islamic algebra symbols!………lol

  10. Doc Bill
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Charles. We’ve suffered the ignominy of Arabic numerals long enough!

    It’s time we Stood up as a People, nay, as a NATION and TOOK OUR NUMBERS BACK!!!

    WHAT DO WE WANT? OUR NUMBERS!!!!! WHEN DO WE WANT THEM? NOW!!!!!!!!

    I propose, insist and demand that we replace at least five of the Arabic Numbers with Christian Numbers, and if you push me, folks, I’ll demand SIX!

    I can tell you, there’s going to be one hell of a battle over zero.

  11. Mikey
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    “…if you can control or influence or educational system then you can start taking over the minds of our young people.” The irony here is unbearable.

  12. Cytocop CT(ASCP)
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Yet ANOTHER right-wing liar. Like this is news?

  13. Charles
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    You know. I have a great idea. Let’s ban high school algebra textbooks because they contain too much Arabic-Islamic influence. We could replace them with Christian math textbooks. Does anyone here know anything about the Christian Neo-Fundamentalist numerals and equations? I sure would like to see them!!!!

    Of course, if you have studied the Religious Right for any time, you know that the far right members of the Texas SBOE do not care about education per se. Their activities are part of a premeditated, multi-pronged plan to take over the seven pillars of American culture and convert them all to Christian Neo-Fundamentalism in order to take over the country. They plans are set forth (by their leaders) on websites. This is not a hysterial claim. You can go right to the web sites where they are officially promoting this stuff.

    Personally, I am not going to let them do it and neither is Jesus. We shall fight them tooth and nail until their plans are nothing but ashes.

  14. Doc Bill
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Rives comes across as a bigot. So, what else is new? If 9/11 hadn’t happened Rives would give a rat’s ass about what was in the history books. Has he been campaigning for “equality” in history books throughout his career? No, he hasn’t. He’s sounds like a scared, angry, impotent redneck like so many out there. He’s so insincere it puts me off my BBQ.

  15. Posted September 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    The essence of the video clip above is the assertion that Khruschev’s threat to take over the US without a shot fired is an assertion swaloowed whole by the Muslims who drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan with US help. This assumes that the Soviet message was so powerful that it skipped over the heads of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and landed in their thorax.

    That is sosrt of like asserting that the 14th Amendment mimicked Southern wartime propaganda.

    Name calling the stuped as such is excessive encouragement of same,

  16. Jon
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s clear that the right-wingers on the board have no interest in Texas children. They saw all the publicity that the Ground Zero Mosque protestors and Quran burning ministers have been getting, and they want some of that attention too. Time to elect people who want to improve the education of children to the board.

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