Good news from Charlotte County. Florida: An effort to recall two history textbooks was thwarted by an unanimous school board vote on March 3. This was exactly the outcome that NCAC had encouraged in a March 2 letter.
The controversy was stirred up by a local chapter of the group ACT! For America, which considers part of its mission to be the defeat of ‘Islamofascism.’ The national organization contends that several prominent world history textbooks offer a biased and inaccurate view of Islam, whitewashing what the group contends are the more unsavory aspects of the history of the faith and giving it prominence over other religions like Christianity.
A review committee determined that the local challenges to two textbooks–The Earth and Its Peoples, A Global History and World History–Connections to Today–were without merit. The school board agreed in a unanimous vote to retain the books.
NCAC argued in our letter that it is not the job of school board members to vet specific passages that some people may consider contentious or filled with errors. As NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin wrote, it is more practical “to select books based on their educational merit as judged by educators and scholars in relevant disciplines.”
As reported in the Charlotte Sun, school board vice chair Barbara Rendell observed that one of the challengers’ main points–that Islam got more attention than other major world religions– appears to be inaccurate: “If you actually go through both books, 1,000 pages each, as I have done, you will see that far more pages are devoted to Christianity.”
As for the question of who should ultimately guide the educational mission of a school, Charlotte Florida Education Association president Bryan Bouton had this to say at the meeting: “Educators are the ones that should make the decision about what children should be taught in our classroom.”