WEDNESDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2009

What new textbooks will teach our children

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About Islam and its role in history and modern civilization. The Weekly Standard has a thorough review of some revised textbook standards that will determine what students learn, and two of the three states featured have made important and impressive changes. The third is “stuck in a pre-9/11 mindset.”

In the past, American textbooks were prone to two great pitfalls: Either they dealt with Islam superficially or they presented it in the manner preferred and promoted by well-funded defenders of Islamic extremism. A hallmark of that latter view is an emphasis on the unity of Islam, which is portrayed as simple, monolithic, and benign. The wide range of belief and practice between Sunni, Shia, and Sufi Islam, to name only the best-known variations, is downplayed, and the problems of Islam, especially violent jihad, are simply left out. Some of the current efforts at revising textbooks successfully avoid these mistakes.

Those would be Texas and Florida. California is the “regrettable” exception.

The revisions are necessary to broaden and improve the study of Western civilization and culture. Political correctness aside…

contested issues should be examined for an understanding of relations between Muslims and the rest of the world.

This is a detailed analysis by an author who knows the subject well. It’s well worth sticking with the piece all the way through, and even following some of the websites listed there for public review of textbook standards in these states.

Because…

Americans, especially young Americans, need accurate information about Islam, as well as other aspects of global affairs. The more critical attitudes introduced in Texas and Florida will doubtless elicit dissatisfaction from Islamists. But Texas and Florida are wise to teach students about crucial past and present interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims, including conflicts between them and even among Muslims. California treats Islam as just one more hue in the multicultural rainbow. The country’s educators would do better to follow the new, sensible, and critical path blazed by the Lone Star State, which is intelligently tackling the issues of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, than to continue the habits still prevalent in an intellectually as well as fiscally weakened California.

These books will be rolling out between 2010 through 2013, and “will shape the content of public instruction for several years to come.” We need this. And we need it to be accurate and well informed.


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | education, Islam

 
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Sheila Reports promises a perspective here that you may not be getting in mainstream media and the politically charged blogosphere. Don’t expect political correctness, because politics doesn’t determine what’s correct. This space is grounded in the natural law and moral order. And it expects civility, goodwill and an openness to truth and reason.


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