Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Politically Correct Textbooks Hurt US

It is about time that the MSM has noticed this. A textbook case of failure, Politically driven adoption system yields shallow, misleading materials.

Although the author, Alex Johnson, disingenuously suggests that the forces politicizing school textbooks are as much the fault of the Right as the Left, he still points up a very serious problem and even offers a solution.
At its core, the economic surge in India and China comes down to brains. The industries driving the region's challenge to American leadership - communications, information technology, biotech and the like - can't thrive without a steady supply of highly educated, intellectually flexible workers.

This is where the United States is falling behind. "“Most U.S. high school students don't take advanced science; they opt out, with only one-quarter enrolling in physics, one-half in chemistry,"” the National Science Foundation found. The National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century concluded that U.S. students were "devastatingly far"” from leading the world in science and math.
If America'’s textbooks were systematically graded, Wang and other scholars say, they would fail abysmally.

American textbooks are both grotesquely bloated (so much so that some state legislatures are considering mandating lighter books to save students from back injuries) and light as a feather intellectually, flitting briefly over too many topics without examining any of them in detail. Worse, too many of them are pedagogically dishonest, so thoroughly massaged to mollify competing political and identity-group interests as to paint a startlingly misleading picture of America and its history.

Textbooks have become so bland and watered-down that they are "“a scandal and an outrage," the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit education think tank in Washington, charged in a scathing report issued a year and a half ago.
Read it all. This is very important.

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