Education warns book
publishers about biased
treatment of Islam
Late Friday afternoon we sent a text message to everyone on our text messaging service telling them about the watershed vote cast that afternoon by the Texas State Board of Education. (If you would like to receive such breaking news text messages please click on the image above.)
As the WorldNetDaily story notes below, the Texas State Board of Education passed a resolution calling on school textbook publishers to stop giving preferential treatment to Islam in their books.
Brigitte Gabriel addresses this issue everywhere she goes, referring to a specific curriculum module that instructs students to memorize verses from the Qur’an and to pray the “shahada,” the prayer acknowledging Allah as one’s god. What we are seeing in school textbooks ranges from a whitewashing of Islam’s violent history to a kind of proselytizing for Islam that would never be tolerated by the ACLU if it were done in the name of Christianity or Judaism.
Because Texas is the largest purchaser of school textbooks in the country, this resolution is a loud and clear warning to textbook publishers.
Next year, our “sister” organization, American Congress for Truth, will be publishing a report on the bias and errors contained in school textbook treatment of Islam.
BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
Texas warns book publishers: 'No more white-washing Islam'
State board adopts resolution calling for fairness regarding world's religions
Posted: September 24, 2010
5:30 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
The elected Texas Board of Education today adopted a resolution that warns textbook publishers to be careful and provide fair treatment of the world's religions – or face being snubbed by the state that buys more textbooks than any other.
The resolution, introduced by former Texas school board member Randy Rives, states: "Resolved, That the SBOE will look to reject future prejudicial social studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and/or by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others."
The resolution, adopted on a 7-6 vote, declares that "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian half-truths, selective disinformation, and false editorial stereotypes still roil some social studies textbooks nationwide," including some "politically correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization."
The resolution included pages of footnotes documenting the specific offenses discovered in various textbooks, including "patterns of pejoratives toward Christians and superlatives toward Muslims, calling Crusaders aggressors, 'violent attackers,' or 'invaders' while euphemizing Muslim conquest of Christian lands as 'migrations' by 'empire builders.'"
Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for the non-profit legal advocacy group Liberty Institute, told WND the vote "sends a strong message that Texas state board members, and really speaking on behalf of the people they represent, care about keeping textbooks accurate."
"They are against religious discrimination. That sends a message," he said.
Publishers, he said, "will have to live up to standards."
Saenz said the board, whose members are elected by voters, are serving their responsibility to be a "check" on the products used in the state's schools.
The resolution discusses world history textbooks officially adopted for use in Texas between 1999 and 2002, which may still be in some classrooms. The resolution also discusses textbooks used in other parts of the country. In Texas, world history textbooks are used at the high school level.
The resolution pointed out grounds for board concerns.
"In one instance, devoting 120 student text lines to Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings but 248 (more than twice as many) to those of Islam; and dwelling for 27 student text lines on Crusaders' massacre of Muslims at Jerusalem in 1099 yet censoring Muslims' massacres of Christians there in 1244 and at Antioch in 1268, implying that Christian brutality and Muslim loss of life are significant but Islamic cruelty and Christian deaths are not."
Another point of contention is book authors "spending 139 student text lines on Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings but 176 on those of Islam; claiming Islam 'brought untold wealth to thousands and a better life to millions,' while 'because of [Europeans' Christian] religious zeal … many peoples died and many civilizations were destroyed;' and contrasting 'the Muslim concern for cleanliness' with Swedes in Russia who were 'the filthiest of God's creatures.'"
The resolution noted the state's law requires reinforcement of "the basic democratic values of our state and national heritage," along with the requirement that "no instructional material may be adopted that contains content that clearly conflicts with the stated purpose of the Texas Education Code."
One book that was examined was "World History, Patterns of Interaction" published by McDougal. The footnotes noted that it has been reported that the Dubai royal family was a "major shareholder" in the Education Media and Publishing Group, which controls textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
"We're just trying to protect the school children of Texas," Rives told WND in preparation for the vote. "We have documented that in the past there was some pro-Islamic and anti-Christian literature in some of our textbooks. We want to put textbook companies on notice that if this happens again, it can cause your textbooks to be rejected."
Rives also noted the prominent national role Texas plays in textbook disputes.
"We are the largest buyer of textbooks in the United States, and publishers like to try to get others states to accept the same version [we use]. What we do in Texas influences the rest of the nation, and we need to take that seriously and make sure an agenda isn't pushed through the textbooks."
Rives told Alana Goodman of the Alexandria, Va.-based Culture and Media Institute, "In the social studies books we need to make sure that our democratic values are depicted and that's not just my opinion, that's what the Texas education code says."
Much to the dismay of the Dallas Morning News, the resolution also warns that "more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are now doing."
DMN's Terrence Stutz reported that the resolution "offered no specific evidence of such investments," despite the footnote regarding the Dubai royal family.
As WND reported, American public school textbooks have been used to promote Islam, and publishing company executives are primarily responsible for the content of the texts.
Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.
"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."
In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.
"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."
Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.
In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.
Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.
"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."
The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.
Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.
Roosevelt's role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century's second-most influential figure.
"This is exciting and valuable research," said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. "The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can't understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won't happen again?"
NIRA's role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.
"Historians have assumed that the policies didn't have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding," Ohanian said. "We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices."
Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt's anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.
The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.
NIRA's labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor's bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.
Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.
"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."