I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Textbook Battles Continue...
Earlier this fall, a local school board in Jefferson County Colorado found itself embroiled in controversy after it voted to pull an Advanced Placement U.S. History text from the district. Some of their complaints had merit, however a massive backlash formed, students walked out, teachers walked out in protest (some schools had to close due to the high number of teachers not showing up). Eventually that board relented and began to teach the course again, as it was designed by the College Board.
This week, the State Board of Education in North Carolina is taking issue with the same course and text, as it could potentially violate state law on the administration of U.S. History. From an article in the Charlotte Observer:
"The State Board of Education will hold a conference-call meeting Monday to hear from the College Board, which developed the class for high school students, and from a leading national critic of the revamped course. The course has drawn charges from critics that it focuses too much on topics such as slavery to promote a negative view of American history.
“The theme of ‘white superiority’ and the ‘subjugation of Africans and American Indians’ plays a key role in the College Board Framework,” writes Larry Krieger, a critic of the new course, in a handout for Monday’s meeting... the New Hanover County school board passed a resolution saying the framework “reflects a radically revisionist view of American History that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects...The Texas Board of Education voted in September that AP U.S. History teachers are to follow the state curriculum in addition to the College Board’s revision. The board also passed a resolution asking that the course be rewritten “to accurately reflect U.S. history without a political bias."
Meanwhile, out in Arizona, a Biology text is being challenged by one district that asserts that two pages of the 500+ pages of text violate a 2012 state law that restricts abortion. The allegation is that the biology text describes pharmaceutical methods to terminate pregnancy, and this discussion troubles some members of a local board, as well as some lawmakers. From an article on this subject from Friday's New York Times:
"the school board in this suburb of Phoenix has voted to excise or redact two pages deep inside the book — 544 and 545 — because they discuss sexually transmitted diseases and contraception, including mifepristone, a drug that can be used to prevent or halt a pregnancy.A law passed two years ago in Arizona requires schools to teach “preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption” over abortion, and the school board decided that those pages were in violation of this law — even though the Arizona Education Department, which examined the book for compliance, found that they were not...The controversy has turned into a referendum on the 2012 law, with supporters saying the textbook content cannot be removed fast enough and opponents crying foul for any number of reasons: technical, ethical, pedagogical."