State Board of Education: Book Wars - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/24/10

State Board of Education: Book Wars

By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – The battle seems to be over in the textbook war involving Christianity and Islam. Texas State Board of Education approved the controversial resolution by a 7 to 6 vote Friday, to reject social study textbooks that they determine to be "tainted" with teaching pro-Islamic and anti-Christian facts.

The board said the resolution titled "Balanced Treatment of Religious Groups in Textbooks", or Randy Rives Resolution, accuses the textbooks of dedicating too much space and "sugarcoating" Islam over Christianity.

The board said the resolution will put publishers on notice that they will closely watch the content and will not tolerate biased material. They said this is to ensure fair and balanced teachings of religions in World History textbooks.

A local pastor here in Lubbock said this reminds him of when they took prayer out of school and the battle is not worth fighting.

"Publishers we have already told you that we're not going to accept this. So if you bring us and textbook and somebody comes to us with and says look what's going on? It will be rejected," said Randy Rives who introduced the resolution.

"I think if you get into any religion you might want to approach it like any subject historically. Present things that are good and things that aren't good like if you talked about any single nation," said Pastor Tim Radkey of Hope Lutheran Church.

Pastor Tim Radkey said no one religion should be singled out, and both the good and the bad should be taught of all religions.

"There's moment that's they are proud of and moments they are not proud of. So to teach it fairly you would have to represent both sides," said Radkey.

The Texas Board of Education cited examples from textbooks no longer used in Texas Schools, because by law they cannot use currently adopted books. The board accused history text books of dedicating too much space to the Islam religion and not giving the same amount to Christianity. In their resolution they said books are spending 139 lines on Christianity beliefs and 176 lines on Islam.

"If you are going to teach two I would say teach it like any other subject, fairly and honestly and truthfully," said Radkey.

The adopted resolution will reject any future prejudicial Social Studies submissions, which will shape the future of millions of school children, something Radkey thinks is a tough call.

"Sometimes I think we maybe pick the wrong battles in our culture to fight and I think there's maybe more battles closer to home that we should be about like out children," said Radkey

But all board members will be up for election in 2012 and the new textbook standards will come after that.

"There's talk about this being all binding, well you know what in Texas I think we have it pretty well figured, your word is your bond", said Rives.

The Islamic Center of the South Plains said they believe there's political emphasis behind this resolution. They also said they want equal opportunity for all religions, but feel more needs to be taught about the Islam religion because of the misunderstanding behind it.

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