Lawrence Davidson takes McGraw-Hill to task (and rightly so) for taking “the extreme step of withdrawing from the market a published text, Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World, and then proceeded to destroy all the remaining books held in inventory.” This radical solution was the result of pressure from pro-Israel groups who didn’t like the story that the above map told. If it had been incorrect, McGraw-Hill’s actions might have been warranted, but as Davidson explains the maps are not “historically inaccurate.”
Did the group pressuring the publisher have any legitimate claims? No. In fact, as Davidson points out, their claims were “historically perverse – the sort of grasping at straws that reflects a biased and strained rewriting of history.”
“The sad truth is that the suborning of textbooks addressing culturally sensitive subjects has become a standard practice. Thus, the process of education is indeed threatened by incessant propaganda. This includes the culture war that swirls around American biology textbooks. It also includes the powerful Zionist drive to literally wipe the Palestinians off the map.”
Read Davidson’s detailed explanation of the whole sorry affair: History News Network | The Zionists Censor a Textbook – An Analysis
Sadly, the South Korean government will now mandate the use of their specially created textbook. “Issued by the government, the new books will rewrite history to bolster the president’s conservative cause.”
Beyond the implications for the education of South Korea’s students, this move has geopolitical implications. As Se-Woong Koo points out: “In geopolitical terms, the Park administration is undermining efforts to confront Japan over its crimes in the wartime era, especially the issue of comfort women. If South Korea can promote its own incomplete history among children, why should Japan not be able to do the same and obscure its dark past?”
This is an unfortunate trend seen across the globe!
Source: South Korea’s Textbook Whitewash – The New York Times
“Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws. And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by ‘sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery’ — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.” This is what happens when politically motivated Schools Boards determine what children will learn. You may recall the kerfuffle over the Texas state curriculum standards in 2010 and the textbooks in 2014 that led to this version of the Civil War appearing in Texas social studies textbooks. (see previous posts on this subject here and here)
The belief that the Civil War was about states’ rights not slavery might be comforting to some, but that feeling comes at the cost of truth, justice, progress, and everything we hold dear as a nation. How can students understand the present if they have been mislead about the past?
Texas officials: Schools should teach that slavery was ‘side issue’ to Civil War – The Washington Post.
The Texas Textbook controversy has recently received a lot of attention, but it is only the most recent chapter in a long struggle over what our children should be learning. It is this history that Christopher Babits examines in order to add perspective to the current polemics. Babits found that debates over the content of textbooks goes back at least 130 years, but one episode in particular stood out as the most instructive in the current textbook wars. This episode began in the late 1920s.
The Great Depression brought great social change and a willingness to critically examine the causes of the crisis, even if it wasn’t pretty. Therefore, according to Babits, “many Americans embraced what came to be called the social reconstructionist curriculum. Observing the consequences of capitalism run amok, Americans became more comfortable with curricula that not only critiqued economic inequality but also encouraged students to ask critical questions about the American past.” In the schools the “[s]ocial reconstructionist curricula focused on the economic challenges facing the United States and the ways that schools could improve society.” This curricula came under attack from conservatives in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that this approach was replaced with a patriotic focused curriculum in response the rise of fascism and World War II.
Read the entire history of the textbooks wars here:
History News Network | The Texas Textbook Controversy. It’s Part of a Long, Awful, Tradition.
From the Chicago Tribune: “President Park is trying to reinstate her father historically,” Lee Jun-sik, a professor at the Yonsei University Institute for Korean Studies in Seoul, said by phone. “A government textbook would tout the achievements of conservative governments and boost views that conservatives need to extend their power as long as possible.”
S. Korea opens new front in E. Asian textbook wars – Chicago Tribune.