Tuesday, May 16, 2006

PC Textbooks

Diane Ravitch looks at the lunacy that politically correct requirements have produced in the history textbooks used in California’s schools:

California's textbooks and other materials must instill a "sense of pride" in students' heritages and may not include "adverse reflection" on any group. Cultural or lifestyle differences may not be portrayed as "undesirable." Members of minority groups must be shown "in the same range of socioeconomic settings" as those in the majority. And it's not just gender and ethnicity that is "protected." Older people, people with disabilities and people who pursue various occupations have been written into the law.

So it's not surprising that in recent months gays and lesbians have stepped forward to demand a place at the state's capacious table. They too want their roles to be portrayed positively in textbooks purchased by the state. And frankly, they've got a point. In view of the state's broad inclusion of every other group in its list of those deserving such treatment, the state has no principled reason to exclude any new claimant.

Just a few months ago, Hindu organizations appeared before the state Board of Education complaining that they were offended by references to their religion in the history textbooks — including descriptions of the caste system and depictions of the treatment of women (one group wanted a reference to the fact that women had "fewer" rights in ancient India changed to say that women had "different" rights). Even though scholars insisted that the historical references were accurate, the organizations objected that their religion had been subjected to an "adverse reflection."

Read the entire article.

[HT: www.realclearpolitics.com ]

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