10 March 2010

Accurate or Politically Correct?


"Sixty percent (60%) of Americans with children in elementary or secondary school say most school textbooks are more concerned with presenting information in a politically correct manner than in accuracy . . . Thirty-one percent (31%) of adults say most school history textbooks portray American history accurately. But 43% say most U.S. history textbooks are not accurate, and another 26% are not sure."

18 comments:

Corey said...

As an educator I think it would be interesting if this pole could have somehow looked at what the people think in inaccurate and what is being taught as "PC".

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Corey:

I think that the "poll" likely reflects what they see in their children's text books, what they observe regarding what they're being taught, and a general knowledge that what's being emphasized now is different than what they think should be emphasized.

Being so close to the subject, and being immersed in it on a daily basis, do you think there's a possibility that you've become desensitized to what is happening?

Michael Lynch said...

I'd be a lot more inclined to care about this survey if I had some indication that these folks had actually familiarized themselves with the content of the textbooks. That doesn't really seem to be the case. The breakdowns for people with and without school-age kids are pretty similar, which indicates that people are likely to believe X or Y about textbooks whether they know what's in them or not. This tells us a lot about what people think, but precious little about the state of American history textbooks. Or was that the point?

--ML

Corey said...

No, not at all. I an just curious to know what the parents are thinking. I would like to know more of the specifics...what is being emphasized too much and what else needs to be hit.

Hell, I had just two parents at our last P/T conferences...apparently those parents whose children attend my school were not polled. Very sad...if some parents had a problem with what I teach, I would likely never hear about it.

Corey said...

http://www.classzone.com/books/americans/index.cfm

That is the link to the text I use...tell me what you think.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

ML:

"This tells us a lot about what people think"

Possibly, but why do they think this? At the very least, there seems to be a general consensus among parents that PC is a problem in schools. I've posted many examples here in the past.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks for the link Corey - I'll take a look as soon as possible and let you know what I think.

MSimons said...

I want them to be accurate and so far the most I have found are a couple of errors in dates like printing 1443 instead of 1442 for Columbus. Many are accusing TX of driving the Nations Textbooks for Social Studies hard to the Right.
So I wonder if some of this poll is tainted by Worldview/ Politic/ Social beliefs.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mike - what would be your definition of "hard to the right?" For some, that means teaching American Exceptionalism and respect and admiration of our founding principles, as well as the founding fathers. I find the fact some have problems with that extremely troubling.

Michael Lynch said...

"Possibly, but why do they think this?" That would have been a good question for the pollsters to ask.

I'm not sure I'd call 60% a general consenus.

--ML

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Actually Michael, I think that's a question educators and publishers of textbooks should be asking.

Corey said...

But this may take us to far the other way...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7059048.ece

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Corey, my man - what's wrong? You got something against Moses and the Kentucky long rifle? Or is it Stonewall Jackson you fear? Relax, he's dead. You fear Creation being taught? Why - are you afraid the bogus theory of evolution won't be able to compete or stand some critical light? Aren't you for diversity and free thinking, examining all points of view? Creationism is very mainstream thinking in America, despite what the NEA is telling you.

Love this quote:

"teach the career of Stonewall Jackson, the most successful Southern field commander in the Civil War, as a study in effective leadership"

Uh . . . yeah? Hey, if its good enough to still be taught at VMI, it's good enough for Texas!

Corey Meyer said...

Richard, you miss the point. I don't fear teaching any of those things...but is there really a need to teach about the NRA in a school classroom unless we are discussing special interest groups or PAC's in a government class? I would not have a problem teaching about Reagan or the Contract with America in its historical context..nor Stonewall. I teach about Stonewall in US History. I dont spend lots of time on him but he is mentioned. I think we could argue about Stonewall being the most successful field commander...but that is beside the point.

My point in posting that link is that there needs to be some common ground in teaching history...it should not all come from the left or the right.

I will not even touch the subject of creation vs. evolution...too polarizing and I will not change my mind or change yours.

Regards...

MSimons said...

Your correct the people hollaring down here are Leftist Socialist who are anti American Exceptionalism and downplay the importance of our founding principles, as well as the founding fathers.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Anon. I guess they're not real fond of Howard Zinn in Texas.
;o)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

MS - you'll find the upcoming posts interesting.