On Friday, November 21st something monumental happened in Austin, Texas at the State Board of Education. The Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT) Coalition changed the perception that average citizens could have a major impact on the content of textbooks for their children. TTT is a grass roots organization composed of average concerned citizens formed in October 2013 with a simple mission: to insure the proposed social studies textbooks are as error free as possible.
What did these 100 unpaid volunteers do? They corrected inaccurate or misleading textbooks for 5 million Texas children and found over 1500 errors in 32 textbooks.
These are just a small sample of the errors found:
- Publishers attempted to push the softer definition of “jihad” as the “struggle to become a better person”. TTT pointed out the facts: the Quran, Hadith’s (Islamic scholar approved collections of Muhammad’s life) and Mohammad’s biography defines jihad as “violence against infidels in the name of Allah”. Attempts to re-define is “spin” and not based upon original Islamic sources.
- Conditions in Cuba are painted as highly beneficial for young people from a healthcare and education standpoint. Misleading information and half-truths is how TTT characterized this description of life in Cuba with details of other reports and sources providing facts justifying TTT’s position.
- “It’s easy to get depressed about Climate Change.”Telling a child what emotions to have on a topic is “agenda building”. Only one side of the issue was told. TTT urged both sides but publishers chose to pull the book as the solution.
- Many publishers routinely referred to the U.S. form of government as a “democracy”. The word “democracy” is not found in the constitution nor in any of the 50 state constitutions. Our form of government is a constitutional republic. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is to the Republic for which it stands, not to the democracy for which it stands.
- Publishers claimed in several instances that Muslims were the original inhabitants of the area we know of as Israel. TTT pointed out Jews inhabited this area hundreds of years before Islam existed.
- Multiple publishers left out the terms “Islamic jihadist”, “Muslim terrorists” even when the attackers used these terms in describing themselves; no mention that the Barbary pirates were Muslims, no mention the 911 hijackers were Islamic jihadists, the absence of the word “Islamic” when describing the terroristsin the 1983 Lebanon Marine Barrack attacks. If the terrorists know who they are, why won’t publishers use those same terms?
- Gorbachev had more to do with the Berlin Wall falling than Ronald Reagan according to one publisher; Communism deficiencies downplayed while Western democracies marginalized; TTT was able to get re-writes on these and many other distorted areas.
Publishers attempted to claim many TTT entries were not “errors” but request for “additional content”. A half-truth or omission of fact does requires additional content for the student to know the “full truth”, not a partial truth. Fortunately the publishers at the direction of the SBOE began to make changes.
November 21, the SBOE approved the final selection of textbooks. One publisher’s entire collection of textbooks was removed from the approval process primarily due to their failure to respond to TTT’s inputs.
Our efforts won’t stop until we analyze all of the publisher’s replies and post them on our website at www.truthintexasttextbooks.com. The public can see the final grade we put on each textbook based upon the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS) compliance rate and how many of the 1500 errors are corrected.
The books will be rated as “Good”, “Acceptable”, “Poor” or “Worse”. This simple report card rating will be easy to understand and assist parents, teachers and school board members as they analyze the books to determine the best textbooks for their children.
Our final report will be out for local school districts (1200+ school districts) as they begin reviewing the 95 social studies textbooks for purchase beginning in early January 2015. Visiting TTT’s website in the coming weeks will provide interested citizens information on the best textbooks for their children. Each of the 32 reviews can be found here.
The secret to our success was average citizens who took the time to get trained, dedicate time to the project, accept criticism of their work and work together as a team following TTT procedures. I can never thank them enough or pass along all the accolades passed to me for their work.
The process has been so effective eight other states have asked for TTT’s protocols to duplicate in their states. Changing textbooks requires entering the review cycle at the right time with the right team. A public conference call for any interested individuals or groups who want more information is scheduled for late January 2015. More details on precise time and call-in information will be on our website beginning in early January 2015.
Publishers want to sell books but making changes before they go to print is the key versus waiting for them to get on the shelves. Please get involved in your children’s future and education, these textbooks are the pathway to their minds and our future.
You can see the testimony of several of our volunteers and the leadership of TTT by going to these YouTube links:
- Lt Col (ret) Roy White, TTT Chairman counters CAIR’s argument Islam was spread equally by missionary work, trade and military conquest; answers SBOEs questions and discusses TTT
- Dr Amy Jo Baker, TTT’s Director of Curriculum, highlights the false narrative publishers use to describe “jihad”
- Karin Gililliand discusses “constitutional republic” versus democracy errors
- Barbara Wilson discusses biases found in Great Depression discussions
- Barbara Lamontague; false narrative about Gen Douglas MacArthur, praise for Communism
- Emily McBurney exposes adult “e-mentor” program in online 6th grade textbook + more
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Fox News.