School Board turns down history book
July 6, 2019
[Editor’s note: It is standard practice for school districts, including Tehachapi Unified School District, to have any new or updated textbooks available for public inspection for 30 days before being accepted as part of coarse curriculum. The book is placed on the counter at the entrance of the district offices where it remains for 30 days for any interested party to peruse. Rarely does anyone take the time to find out what is actually written in these textbooks; possibly since the textbooks are recommended by the teaching staff.
Recommended textbooks are routinely presented to the School Board which approves the 30 day review and then routinely accepts the textbook unless one of the Board Members or other interested party decides to personally review the book. That is precisely what happened with the updated 11th Grade AP U.S. History textbook, “The American Pageant.”
On the Agenda for the May 7 School Board meeting appeared the following item which the Board approved:
“Members of the Tehachapi High School teaching staff have reviewed and recommend for adoption 11th grade AP U.S. History textbook ‘The American Pageant’ by authors Kennedy & Cohen. Publisher Cengage Learning, ISBN: 978-1-3379-1557-1. Pursuant to Board Policy 6161.1, all recommended instructional materials shall be available for public inspection at the district office.”
The book was on display at the district office until the June 11 meeting where it came back to the Board for approval as the district had received no comments on the book. However, Board Trustee Joe Wallek reported that he had taken the time to review the book and wrote the following:]
American Pageant Critique
“History textbooks are influenced by the ideological, moral and political beliefs of the authors. Their language and context used to articulate knowledge to the reader influences and forms their understanding of our history. Every student and parent, in the TUSD, should have the reasonable expectation that the text provided by this district, to each student, be historically accurate, free of bias and any controversial issues be fairly and equally presented in a balanced manner free of any bias or prejudice. The educational goal of this district is to develop, independent critically thinking, socially conscious students, devoid of any politically driven agenda. This goal is especially predicated on the instruction provided from the textbooks.
During the May 7 Board Meeting, the trustees approved for a 30 day review, the AP US history textbook, ‘The American Pageant,’ 17th edition. This textbook was available at the front desk of the district office.
‘The American Pageant’ is one of the best selling history textbooks with millions of copies sold and required reading for thousands of students.
My intention of a quick review and a 30 minute spot check turned into many hours over seven days of fact checking.
I began my review with the last chapter of the book regarding President Trump. After reading this chapter, I sat absolutely stunned. I re-read this incredulous jaw-dropping chapter again and again.
What masquerades itself as a history textbook is in fact a liberal, agenda driven textbook, culminating with a personal hate-filled assault on the President of the United States. Regardless of political preference, indoctrination or bias, of any kind, should not be part of any textbook used by this district.
Some of the liberal aspersions against President Trump from this chapter:
1. He “hijacked the Republican nomination.”
2. “a swaggering colossus of ignorance, vanity, and vulgarity.”
3. “a sexual predator” guilty of “sexual misconduct”
4. “cavalier disregard for the facts”
5. “thrice married.”
6. “The most unprepared and least qualified person to be president.”
8. “slimed his fellow republicans.”
9. “shambolic leadership style.”
10. “incapable of keeping a lid on his Id.”
11. “unbridled ego.”
12. “tweet tantrums.”
13. “Trumps America First agenda, puts at risk the peace and prosperity of the entire planet.”
The authors also point out that Trump’s supporters, the “racists” and “homophobes,” also known as the “Deplorables,” helped place him in office.
The authors couldn’t contain their contempt in expressing their hatred for and trashing President Trump. In fact, the authors of this textbook denigrate almost every Republican president and demonize conservative values. The liberal bias, which permeates this text, corrupts education turning schools into indoctrination centers.
The Education and Research Institute, founded in 1974 focuses on public policy issues. One of their undertakings is The American History Project. This project points out the weaknesses in four US history books. The most egregious is ‘The American Pageant.’ ERI analyzed 15 core chapters found in all the editions of ‘The American Pageant.’ These chapters cover the 1865-2001 period; approximately 500 pages. This analysis was based on the 2002 edition, but newer editions, “incorporate almost all of the errors found in the 2002 edition.” The ERI analysis identified over 300 errors that are either “misleading or incorrect” in these five hundred pages. The ERI has identified the errors and liberal bias and have placed their line by line, page by page findings on their website. ‘The goal of ERI is to offer students the opportunity to learn true American History, not the left wing biased version.’
As we all know the Second Amendment has been a controversial topic. The Second Amendment in this textbook was brought to my attention. On page A14 of ‘The American Pageant,’ that Amendment is cited. Most people would expect that this Amendment would be faithfully printed with the original language of The Bill of Rights. The original language is as follows:
‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’
The Amendment, with an in line liberal edit, reads as follows:
”A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms [FOR MILITARY PURPOSES] shall not be infringed.”
A quote from ERI which I completely agree with.
‘The American Pageant’ is a,’strongly biased textbook, it has distorted American History for three generations of students.’
BP 6144 Instruction
[No.] 2. Instruction shall be presented in a balanced manner, addressing all sides of the issue without bias or prejudice and without promoting any particular point of view.
‘The American Pageant,’ is an anti-conservative textbook, which promotes hate and intolerance for our current president, assaults conservative values and has failed to use established facts as primary evidence in support of their liberal bias.
This text does not meet Board Policy 6144 requirements and has no place in the TUSD.”
The School Board did not
approve the textbook
[Editor’s note: At the June 25 Board meeting, the Board discussed the possibility of having a public notice printed when a new textbook is available for inspection so that parents also may know it’s there for review. This book was to be an update of the textbook currently in use in the AP U.S. History class and it is unclear how much time staff had to review the book before presentation.]