Hello Texas Education Agency Members:
I am writing as a concerned United States citizen and a parent to express concern for the apparent lack of appreciation of truth in your adoption of the McGraw-Hill textbooks for the state of Texas.
I read in the media that many members of the State Board of Education profess that their guiding direction is from being a Christian. Being a Christian is not being ashamed of the truth. God is NOT a respecter of persons. Any elected official that uses his or her convictions to justify not preparing and equipping FUTURE DREAMERS, LEADERS AND ACHIEVERS with truth should feel a certain amount of shame.
Recently a mother published her concerns of finding a disturbing choice of terms used to describe enslaved Africans in a high school history textbook. Based upon review of the timeline of your Board of Education activities, this seems like an unlikely "typographical error". Many of the reviews provided on the curriculum learning objectives themselves seemed to purposely remove contributions of African descendants.
My ancestors fought in several wars. Due to the evils and destruction of family records throughout our history of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation, I can only trace back to my ancestor born in 1805. His son valiantly fought in the USCT 1st Colored Calvary during the Civil War. It is mean spirited and short sighted to seek to diminish the African contribution to the establishment of this country as a world power.
Attempting to bury the truth of a people and discredit cultural relevance is dangerous. It is one of the key reasons Dr. Carter G. Woodson became the FATHER OF BLACK HISTORY. It was too easy for lives to be destroyed following the D.W. Griffith media frenzy surrounding "Birth of a Nation". When ignorance is promoted as entertainment it is the role of the elected official to promote TRUTH for a civil society. By not providing this information, it leaves our nation open to repeating that horrific period of time in our history
Was there at least one or more reviewers who were of African descent participating and providing insight into some of these decisions to sterilize the significance of the founding fabric of this country?
I think it is time that the truth is revealed and that a public statement be made by your current board on what is your end goal for the children of the state of Texas?
I am asking that a public response be made on why this occurred and what will be done by your board to prevent such a problem in the future. Ten years is an unacceptable waiting period for action.
Joan E. Gosier
Education! Important GEAR for LIFE.
cc: Members of PETAC
OCTOBER 7, 2015 6:14 PM
Thank you for contacting me.
One other principle of my faith is to love others as yourself. This is applicable because if you made a mistake, you would likely give yourself the benefit of the doubt or at least understand that your mistake wasn't intentional.
Attached please find a spreadsheet listing the 16 other references to slavery in this same textbook. This is, in my opinion, proof that the error was a mistake, not an intentional act as some would suggest.
Neither myself nor any of my colleagues are trying to "diminish the African contribution" to this country. The publisher made a mistake and they have stepped up and owned it. Can we find it in our hearts to forgive them for their trespasses?
Our end goal is for every student to learn factual history and geography, the good, the bad and the ugly. What makes our country great, in my opinion, are our successes and our failures.
Thank you for caring about children and working to make sure they get the best education possible.
Member, SBOE District **
"One of the best ways to persuade others, is with your ears - by listening to them."
1) Review the contract
2) Examine the editorial editors notes
3) Refund the funds for breach of contract if true
4) Put the students' BEST interest forward!
5) Make sure these textbooks are not purchased with YOUR TAX DOLLARS by inquiring at your NEXT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING!
RECOMMENDED TEXT BOOK: FIVE PONDS
"...Maybe it's embarrassing when citizens step forth and show some of the blatant inaccuracies in our American history, references to our founding fathers, our Christian heritage, truly errors.
But to try and silence them with intimidation, I think, is wrong and that's what this is all about," he said.Other changes require proposed books to be reviewed by at least two panel members, so that a single volunteer can't raise objections.
The new rules also require panelists to submit majority and minority reports about proposed material, and restrict board members' contact with reviewers to avoid unfair influence..." SOURCE
Another seeks to place Martin Luther King and the violent Black Panther movement as opposite sides of the same coin."We had a big discussion around that," said Knight, a former teacher. "It was an attempt to taint the civil rights movement. They did the same by almost equating George Wallace [the segregationist governor of Alabama in the mid-1960s] with the civil rights movement and the things Martin Luther King Jr was trying to accomplish, as if Wallace was standing up for white civil rights. That's how slick they are.
"They're very smooth at excluding the contributions of minorities into the curriculum. It is as if they want to render minority groups totally invisible. I think it's racist. I really do." SOURCE
"The standards will guide textbook purchases and classroom instruction over the next decade — and maybe not just in Texas. National publishers usually cater to its demands because the school board is probably the most influential in the country. Texas buys 48 million textbooks every year. No other state, except California, wields that sort of market clout." SOURCE
"McLeroy is a dentist from Bryan, Texas, a self-described Christian fundamentalist, and an outgoing member of state school board of education (SBOE). Over the past year, McLeroy and his allies formed a powerful bloc on the 15-member elected board and pushed through controversial revisions to the statewide social studies curriculum.
“Sometimes it boggles my mind the kind of power we have,” McLeroy recently boasted.
To many Texans, however, what’s more mind-boggling are some of the revisions. Critics charge that they promote Christian fundamentalism, boost conservative political figures, and force-feed American “exceptionalism,” while downplaying the historical contributions of minorities. (See slideshow below for examples of the changes.)" SOURCE