Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Textbook Controversy

Gary Fouse

Several months ago, I wrote an article about a controversial 7th grade textbook (History Alive) which was angering parents in various locales, including Lodi, California and Scottsdale, Arizona due to its misleading description of the more controversial aspects of Islam.

I wrote the article after a colleague of mine had complained about the fact that his two sons had been subjected to this text book at an Irvine Middle School. Today, I received an email from a friend who had attended a recent school board meeting in Fountain Valley, California (Orange County) in which residents compalined about another text that was allegedly providing misleading information about Islam. The below account of the meeting was written by Al Rowley of an Orange County chapter of ACT for America.

By Al Rowley:
July 23, 2010

Newt Gingrich said it right. "America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.....The time to take a stand is now!"

Well over 100 citizens did just this at the monthly meeting of the Fountain Valley School District board meeting Thursday evening, July 22. A Resolution had been placed on the Agenda to accept and approve the use of some supplementary instructional material which would provide additional important information and correct some of the mis-information regarding Islam contained in the seventh grade textbook "World History - Medieval to Modern Times". published in 1996 by Holt, Rinehart Winston which is used in this and many other school districts.

The supplementary information has just recently been developed by an advisory board of Textbook Alert, a group of college and university academics who are well aware of the extent to which grade 7 History & Social Studies texts used across the nation have been intentionally propagandized to present a sanitized sugar-coated mis-leading portrayal of Islam and Islamic History, primarily through the efforts of an Islamc activist group, the Council on Islamic Education.

This Council, founded and directed by a Muslim immigrant, Shabbir Mansuri, who holds neither a college degree nor academic qualifications as a historian, educator, or theologian, has been working at this since 1990 by lobbying State Departments of Education to remove anything critical of Islam from their curriculum frameworks and even convincing textbook publishers that his group must be allowed to edit their pre-publication textbook drafts to make sure that nothing offensive to Muslims is present which might impede their adoption by any state or local adoption committee. All major publishers seem to have acquiesced, and several texts even list him as a co-author or consultant. The reason this agenda item was introduced at the Fountain Valley School District is because this District has been providing office space for this Council on Islamic Education since 1993...a relationship which is considered highly inappropriate by many.

An overflow crowd of well over 100 filled the board room and 20 speakers took the opportunity to address the Board during the "public comments" period. While the Board normally allows 4 minute per speaker, Board President Tony McComb surprised those who had signed up to address the Board by arbitrarily announcing they would be limited to two minutes, so many opinions from the public were obviously and intentionally not permitted to be expressed or heard.

Only one speaker, a Fountain Valley High School coach, spoke against the resolution. He voiced his opinion that the kids really seem to be learning all they need to about Islam and he feels there is no need for any supplementary material. A significant number of the other speakers were immigrants from Muslim countries where they have had first-hand experience with Islam and sharia law, some as Muslims, some as persecuted non-Muslims minorities. One of them, a 13 year old 8th grader reported much of what he had been taught in the 7th grade about Islam here was simply not true. The fervent and highly emotional expressions of these speakers brought intense vocal responses and applause from the supportive audience; to the extent that the Board President requested that there be no audible response until each had finished their remarks and that it then be limited to clapping only. It was not lost on the audience that he had not only cut the speakers time in half but also tried to silence even their own expressions of support.

One speaker, noting that the public part of the meeting seemed not to have started with the Pledge of Allegiance invited all to stand and join him in the Pledge. While the audience did, the Board sat and watched uncomfortably until finally one by one some reluctantly rose and joined in.

A former Muslim Iranian Navy Captain, once in charge of all training for the entire Iranian Navy, warned the Board about the intentions of Islam to conquer the entire world and force it to submit to Allah and sharia law.

A member and immediate past president of the Board of the Anaheim Union High School District, Orange Counties largest high school district, admonished board members for not even making eye contact with the speakers and assured them that her board would have passed the resolution and adopted the Supplement without delay. Several Muslims and ex-Muslims warned the board about the true intentions of Islam to conquer America and how it is laying the foundations for conquest by brain-washing America's youth so they will willingly accept Islam.

A member of ACT! for America informed the Board that while ACT! had provided input at two public hearings of the California Curriculum Frameworks Committee, in Sacramento which could well have resulted in changes to the next generation of History books scheduled for 2012, but that State budget cuts have forced the cancellation of all further work on new textbooks for 2012. As a result schools may be forced to continue using their existing flawed texts until possibly 2018 or later. He stressed that the need for correcting supplemental material thus becomes especially critical and important.

A substantial number of the audience remained for over 3 hours until the very end of the meeting when the Board finally addressed the issue of the Resolution. Asked by the Board President to each express their feelings about the Resolution and the supplemental material, none refuted the information therein, but one after another their almost identical objections came forth: Judith Edwards voiced her opinion that any supplemental materials must come down from the State, Ian Collins announced "There is a procedure..." without ever explaining what it was. Christine Alcorn insisted that "this must be done at the State level." New Board member Nicola Weiss echoed. "We must follow proper procedures". Board President Tony McComb mumbled something about not having the procedures or authority to adopt supplemental materials. Several mentioned the fact that the Board couldn't very well adopt supplementary information for one group because then they might have to do it for others as well. The Board then decided that the Resolution, which had apparently only been on the agenda as an "Information item" was not important enough to be placed on the next agenda for further consideration as an "action item". By doing so they have deemed it not even worth further consideration and simply tossed it into the trash can.

The SRO audience was composed of an interesting spectrum of the community. A number were local residents of Fountain Valley, A number were immigrants from Islamic countries who are obviously very concerned about what is being taught to our children about Islam. A number were members of various ACT! for America chapters in the area. The Resolution had been drafted by a well-informed Fountain Valley parent, Steve Jackson, who is not an ACT! member.

There were about a dozen Muslims standing outside in the parking lot near the entrance before the meeting, but they were not seen accosting anyone or entering the Board Room at any time. One attendee suggested, "They probably didn't need to as they knew it was a done deal".

This may well have been the case. The fact that the entire 5 member board, presented with overwhelming community concern and evidence that their grade 7 History textbook contains erroneous and propagandized information about Islam, and also provided with a creditable piece of supplementary instructional material which could balance and correct this AT NO COST, and then unanimously reject it...all for the very same reasons.... seems strongly to indicate that this issue had probably been decided before the meeting.

We think the Board has also lied. Either that or they have been badly mis-informed by their Superintendent. We know of no law or State Education Code requiring that "supplementary instructional materials" (which this clearly was) must be vetted and adopted by any state agency. Most all California school boards have a written board policy regarding the introduction and use of supplementary instructional materials. We'll wager that these need not be State adopted. We find that Fountain Valley School District also has such a Board Policy No. 6161.11, We will be getting it and we plan to review it closely.

As noted, there seemed to be no Muslim protestors present. A 4-column article announcing the board meeting entitled "Activists Clash Over History Text" which appeared in the morning's Orange Country Register included comments by the local CAIR leader and Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of the Council on Islamic Education, so obviously Muslims knew about the meeting and could have turned out in large numbers.

It appears that the Fountain Valley School Board and Superintendent Marc Ecker indeed fit Newt Gingrich's description of "willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could".

Meanwhile, The O.C. Register's version of last night's board meeting, which didn't seem to make it into this morning's edition, is now up on their web page. You can view it at:

You can also send in comments. Their reporter obviously viewed the meeting a bit differently than I did.

Open Attachment SUPPLEMENT_TEXTBOOK ALERT_World History_Holt_.doc

This, of course, is hardly surprising. Muslim organizations are inserting themselves into positions of influence when it comes to reviews of text books. School officials, naturally, are only too eager to follow the politically-correct line. Our children should be taught tolerance. They should not be taught BS. It is time the public becomes aware of this organization called the Council on Islamic Education and the influence they have over textbooks and schools.

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