Friday, March 12, 2010

Political Correctness More Important than Accuracy in Textbooks

Three out of five Americans believe that to be an accurate statement.
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.
Now, there might be some people wondering how that happens, after all, supposed experts write the textbooks.

Well, that is not fully accurate. There are a number of matters which must be understood about textbooks.

1. Textbooks are expensive to produce. Not surprising, of course, but the effort for textbook publishers, will be of course to maximize profits by having standard textbooks acceptable to the largest population possible.

2. The curriculum that is considered by a local/state school board is a political document. People that that a curriculum is an educational document, but it is not. A curriculum may start off as a document with a goal of educating our kids as best we can, but it it always massaged, altered, amended and adapted to account for a variety of political constituencies, from minorities, to women, to whoever needs to be appeased about their role in literature, history, science, economics, what ever.

3. When you consider item 1, you have to expect textbook publishers to look at the biggest education markets and you get California, Texas and New York. Curriculum decisions in those states drive the production of textbooks. If a smaller state wanted to have a different curriculum, then the textbooks become significantly more expensive to be "customized."

The result of course is that the political correctness of California, New York, Texas and other large states drives what you see in textbooks.

I wonder what the state by state breakdown on the Rasmussen Poll shows.

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