Conservative activists who’ve been voluntarily reviewing Tennessee textbooks say many have an underhanded, liberal slant. Several signed up to speak at a legislative hearing Tuesday where they said their biggest beef with new history books may be crimes of omission.
It’s spending three chapters on Islam and a few pages on Christianity, or mentioning the increased deficit under President Ronald Reagan and glossing over the decreased federal spending.
Murfreesboro resident Jackie Archer says her group reviewed all 94 social studies books being considered this year by the state Textbook Commission. They only approve of eight.
“The norm seemed to be to tell the one side of an issue that suits the author’s ideology and to totally ignore significant parts of history that do not,” Archer told the Senate Education Committee.
Activists did point to a few specific passages. One from an Advanced Placement textbook says well-off Americans tend to identify with the Republican Party. The less well-off are generally represented by Democrats.
Sumner County social studies teacher Kevin Kelly doesn’t see the claim as factually incorrect. He is one of the state’s professional textbook reviewers who make recommendations to the full commission.
“I don’t think that it’s something that isn’t supported by research,” he told the panel.
But the mostly Republican lawmakers at the hearing shook their heads in disagreement.
Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) asked, “What do we do? We don’t want kids reading that passage tomorrow morning.”
Scrapping The Commission
State lawmakers are considering scrapping the state textbook panel altogether for something entirely different.
“This can’t be fixed,” said Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), who heads the Government Operations Committee.
Conservative activists say a new panel should have fewer educators and more laymen.