Radical multiculturalism a growing problem in public schools
Textbooks and school activities that promote destructive forms of multiculturalism are proliferating in U.S. public schools, funded by local and federal tax dollars, with alarmingly little notice or resistance from parents or education officials.
Non-educators who win election or appointment to school boards may be inclined to entrust supervision of instruction to administrators and teachers, lest they be seen as meddlers or even censors.
That might be a reasonable instinct in normal times, but board members who are oblivious to the growing injection of radical agendas into classroom instruction fail in their duty to be good stewards of our children’s education.
A prime current example is the widespread use of U.S. and world history textbooks that are actively glorifying Islam and sanitizing its radical elements, while downplaying or denigrating the Judeo-Christian roots of the United States and Western civilization in general.
The American Textbook Council (ATC), a scholarly organization that keeps tabs on textbook trends, found in a review of 10 of the most widely used junior and senior high school textbooks a concerted effort to cleanse jihad — the rallying cry of Islamic terrorists — of all belligerent connotations.
It is true that jihad has divergent meanings, some of which may have to do with personal religious perspectives. However, it is absurd to deny that it has anything to do with the concept of waging a “holy war” to secure the objectives of radical Islam.
Perhaps the most extreme pro-Islam revisionism is found in the History Alive series of secondary-school texts published by the Teachers Curriculum Institute (TCI). These textbooks have been used, approved or endorsed in a growing number of school districts in Illinois, California, Texas, Florida, Washington State, and elsewhere. The seventh-grade text defines jihad simply as “to strive,” explaining: “Jihad represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that are pleasing to God. Muslims strive to respond positively to personal difficulties as well as worldly challenges. For instance, they might work to become better people, reform society, or correct injustice.”
The TCI text goes on to describe jihad as sometimes involving a “struggle against oppression.” Thus, the textbook teaches schoolchildren that those targeted for terrorist acts such as the September 11, 2001, mass murder are, in fact, the oppressors.
Incredibly, History Alive devotes five full chapters, 62 pages, to putative accomplishments of Islam through the ages. One chapter focuses in great detail on such teachings as the Five Pillars of Faith, complete with elaborate illustrations.
While not as extreme as History Alive, many other widely used textbooks present a theme of universal Islamic tolerance, or what a Prentice Hall volume weirdly terms a “multicultural society.” Never mind that acceptance of other faiths runs counter to the widespread practice of Islam. Some of the texts completely gloss over the subjugation of women under Islamic law.
The expanding use of such textbooks is a dramatic example of the influence of radical multiculturalists over what is taught in public schools around the country. These multiculturalists are espousing a conviction that the teaching of history must be liberated from white Eurocentric or Judeo-Christian “oppressive” perspectives. The resulting distortions can include harmful biases or omissions like those glorifying Islam, coupled with an ignoring or denigrating of fundamental figures or lessons of American history.
Textbook selection committees in populous states like Texas and California have a major impact on what textbooks publishers decide to market nationwide. However, local and state school boards decide which books or other curricular materials are used.
The textbooks are then frequently taught by teachers who have little or no formal education in American history and who receive little guidance from weak state content standards.
It is the responsibility of board members to take the initiative to read those books themselves and have open discussions with parents about content. They should not hesitate to redirect public dollars from grossly biased texts to alternative materials that more fairly and completely tell the American story.
But for now, it is up to parents in such communities as Highland Park and Cicero, Illinois; San Francisco and San Jose, CA, Austin, TX, and St. Johns County, FL, (all of which are on board with “History Alive”) to combat the destructive force that multicultural dogma is exerting on the teaching of American heritage and values.
Robert Holland and Don Soifer are education analysts with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, VA www.lexingtoninstitute.org.