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Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Are Our Kids Being Taught at Lakeside Middle School (Irvine)?

A couple of weeks back, one of my teaching colleagues complained to me about what his two middle school sons were being taught about Islam at Lakeside Middle School in Irvine, California. He described the textbook to me and stated that his sons had to spend 3-4 weeks studying Islam, as well as doing projects such as coloring in pictures of mosques. In short, the students were given a sanitized, favorable and politically-correct representation of Islam including the topics of jihad, shariah and Islamic views of other religions.

The textbook is identified as:

History Alive- The Medieval World and Beyond.
Publisher: Teachers Curriculum Institute

There are numerous chapters in the book devoted to Islam explaining why the kids are having to spend 3-4 weeks on this topic.

In checking out this book, I cam across a report by Gilbert F Sewall, which is linked. I found out that my colleague is not the only one upset about the indoctrination shoved down his sons' throats. Parents in Lodi, California and Scottsdale, Arizona have filed complaints against their school boards over the use of this book. The below work is lengthy, but well worth reading. It is downright scary.


http://www.historytextbooks.org/islamreport.pdf

You need to pay particular attention to the influence that the Council on Islamic Education is having on the choice of texts pertaining to Islam upon the educational authorities in the various states. It is all governed by liberal, politically-correct politics within our educational system. California, in particular, has the most liberal specifications for texts that they purchase. Therefore, publishers design their texts to conform wth California's outlook. That affects what all states get. The end result is what your children learn in school.

Finally, I have e-mailed the prinicipal of the school the following:

"Dear Ms Cuneo,

My name is Gary Fouse, and I am a blogger in this area. Recently, a colleague of mine complained to me about the instruction his sons were getting in your school's 7th grade. He speciically objects to a 7th grade text entitled History Alive and the several chapters devoted to a quite sanitized depiction of Islam including topics such as sharia and jihad. He also stated that his sons had to spend 3-4 weeks studying this favorable depiction of Islam. I have encouraged him to take his complaints directly to the school.

In researching the book, I found that parents in Lodi, California and Scottsdale, Arizona also filed complaints about this book and the aforementioned chapters.

I have posted an article in my blog today (fousesquawk), which describes the controversy over this book. In my mind, this represents indoctrination of children into a politcally-correct viewpoint which has been pushed by the Council on Islamic Education. My posting can be linked at;

http://garyfouse.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-are-our-kids-being-taught-at.html

In the interest of fairness, I am willing to post any response you care to give."

Thank you,

Gary Fouse

27 comments:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'm opposed on principle to textbooks. They always water down a subject to meaningless pablum, mildly flavored with the viewpoint of the authors. Instead, each student should be assigned a weekly research paper, to be presented to the entire class, with footnoting to sources relied upon. Classmates should ask questions, including pointing out other sources, if properly footnoted.

My favorite source for Islam is David Levering Lewis's God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe. It presents several centuries of history as several centuries of history, during which Islam meant many things to many people, and many things were done in the name of Islam, the good, the bad, the ugly, the indifferent...

Gary Fouse said...

The point is this school is not educating. It is indoctrinating. There is more going on in this school. Stay tuned.

Findalis said...

Our schools do not instruct, they indoctrinate.

My best source on Islam is the Koran and Hadiths.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I don't know enough about this issue to comment one way or another, but I'd like to instead comment on Findalis' assertion:

Our schools do not instruct, they indoctrinate.

As a teacher, I can tell you that you are certifiably full of crap. Are there some teachers who attempt to indoctrinate? Yes. There are some at my school, but I can assure you that they're both on the right and on the left. Most of us take our jobs seriously and encourage our students to think for themselves.

The problem with so many "conservatives" is that sometimes facts go against THEIR indoctrination, and they can't stand anything that challenges their world view. (I'm thinking of things like evolution and climatology.)

My best source on Islam is the Koran and Hadiths.

That's great, but how about also looking at over 1400 years of Islamic history and look at it in its proper context?

I swear, you and your ridiculous absolute statements...

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

Don't respond to Findalis. Respond to me. I say it all the time. I think my article pretty much spelled it out. How about a biology teacher who tells his pupils that religion is crap and they are foolish if they believe in any religion? (Stay tuned)

As for me, I don't take my opinions into the classroom, and I avoid any situation where I am asked. If I am asked, I tell them not to worry about what I think. Worry about what they think.

Bartender Cabbie said...

I do a little substitute "teaching" myself and maybe next year I will have a real teaching position. It beats bartending and driving a taxi cab around Houston. I agree with Siarlys' statement that textbooks are not very good. Her suggestion that students should be assigned a weekly research paper misses an important issue. Most kids I have found would have no clue on how to do this. I fault the "system" for that.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

How about a biology teacher who tells his pupils that religion is crap and they are foolish if they believe in any religion?

How about a Spanish teacher who talks about how the Christian End Times are coming?

How about an Economics teacher who told students that they're "ignorant" when they didn't think that we should be fighting in Iraq?

See? That's TWO examples! And these are just two that I know of. Therefore, our children are being indoctrinated into right-wing Christian fundamentalist ideology.

And quit congratulating yourself all the time when you say that you don't bring your opinions into the classroom. You teach English as a second language. When would your opinions even come into the equation? It's a lot harder for teachers like me, where we deal with all sorts of ethical issues in the literature that we read - just as it's tougher for social studies teachers who discuss both past and current events.

I was "indoctrinating" my students just today when we read To Kill a Mockingbird and learned about the Scottsboro Boys. I told them that convicting a person based on the color of his or her skin was wrong.

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

I am against the teachers you quoted. They were wrong.

As for me, sure I could use ESL to discuss all kinds of issues in which I insert my views, but I don't. Hell, a teacher could teach chemistry and tell his students whatever he wants. Why does a women's studies teacher at UCI rail against Israel in her class?

Findalis said...

I told them that convicting a person based on the color of his or her skin was wrong.

Did you also teach them that not convicting due to his or her skin color is wrong? Or voting for a candidate because he/she is black, or Hispanic, or Christian, is wrong too. That is racist to vote for or against a candidate just due to the color of their skin.

Any teacher who make his or her students feel awkward in his/her class because they have a different opinion on issues than the teacher is a poor teacher (Especially if they grade the student poorly due to it.). The good ones help their students explore all possibilities without bringing their personal views into the forefront.

I trust Lance is trying to do that.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Look, I'm not denying that some teachers use their position as a platform. I'm just trying to say that in some cases, a teacher can give his or her opinions without it being "indoctrination". Aside from that, I think that you don't give the students enough credit. I never just swallowed whatever my teachers said. I don't think that they necessarily do either.

Findalis said...

Students are smart, but can be beaten down (verbally) by a teacher who forgets that personal opinion does not constitute facts.

The majority of teachers do not do this, just as the majority of administrators do not follow that either.

What this post was complaining of is in fact an outside group (Probably CAIR.) influencing the state board into changing the curriculum to reflect their view. A fine example is now in CA textbooks claiming Jesus was Palestinian and Jews never lived in Israel before 1900.

Lies disguised as facts. Pure indoctrination. Not one history teacher has complained!

Gary Fouse said...

Findalis,

In this case it is the Council on Islamic Education that is pushing the party line upon the schools.

In the case of our universities, there is a reson. Every future leader of this country will pass through these ivy covered halls.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I have a hard time believing that Muslims are carrying that much influence. As for this:

A fine example is now in CA textbooks claiming Jesus was Palestinian and Jews never lived in Israel before 1900.

What is your source for this? It sounds like another "Findalis Fact".

Findalis said...

Sources:

U.S. Textbooks: ‘Jesus was Palestinian’
UK newspaper: Jesus was a Palestinian
'Jesus was a Palestinian,' claims U.S. history text
Was Jesus a Palestinian?
Christmas 2006: Is Jesus still a Palestinian?
Jesus the Palestinian...OK then
Jesus Was A Palestinian?

Enough sources? I could add a lot more.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I stand corrected. Do you have anything about the Jews never living in Israel before 1900?

Regarding the "Jesus is Palestinian" thing, while that certainly can be misleading, it's not exactly incorrect. Nowadays, the name Palestine has political implications. If Wikipedia can be trusted on this one (and I know that they can't always be trusted) the term has historically been a geographic one that includes Israel, Jordan, and a bit of Syria and Lebanon. If that is the case, then he was indeed Palestinian.

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

There has aqlways been some Jewish presence in Plaestine. BTW, "Palestine" has never been a nation. There has never been a Palestinian govt. Palestine was a geographical designation for what was a backwater in the Ottoman Empire kinda like the Pacific Coast. Byt you probably already know that.

Findalis said...

Some more sources:

The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict (This site never heard of checking their facts or history.)

Did the Jews live in ancient Israel?

Palestinian Authority Claims Western Wall is Moslem Property

The Jews have no claim to the land they call Israel.

Palestine was always an Arab country

The Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites and were in Palestine long before the Jews.

This lie is being taught to children in both Gaza and the West Bank:

Teaching Hatred of Israel and Jews in the New Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks

Palestinian children in combat support roles
Behavior mirrors teachings in PA schoolbooks and popular culture


If you tell a lie long enough, it will become believed. But once it is discovered to be a lie, the liars will never be believed again.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I wasn't entirely certain on the specifics, but what you wrote just proved my point. If it's a geographical distinction, then Jesus was indeed from Palestine. I guess it really depends on what the Romans called it. If they called it Palestine, then I think that this is a slam-dunk.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

More schools in the history of humanity have indoctrinated than not -- including Eton, Groton, and the average American high school. Anything beyond the three R's turns into some degree of indoctrination, even if is only "making these damn east European immigrants and Jews into good Americans."

Assigning students to do individual projects, then holding them to standards to back up what they present, means a diversity of opinion and some education in the difference between facts, assertions, and opinions.

No, most students wouldn't have a clue. That's the place to start -- Jaime Escalante style. Most students in his class didn't have a clue about calculus, but he got across that they weren't so dumb as they had been told, and made it clear he expected them to master the subject.

I do have a copy of Marmaduke Pickthall's The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, but I don't take it as the final word on all of Islamic history.

Gary Fouse said...

If I'm not mistaken, I think the word comes from the Roman "Philistines".

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Findalis,

Your links are not working for some reason. I tried to Google a couple of those titles, but I'm not finding anything about American textbooks making that particular claim.

As of right now. The bit about Jesus being from Palestine is correct, and I can't find anything about the claim that American textbooks are saying that the Jews didn't live in Israel before 1900.

I'm hereby coining a new phrase:

Findalis Fact: A fact that is, in fact, not a fact.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Findalis,

Your links are not working for some reason. I tried to Google a couple of those titles, but I'm not finding anything about American textbooks making that particular claim.

As of right now. The bit about Jesus being from Palestine is correct, and I can't find anything about the claim that American textbooks are saying that the Jews didn't live in Israel before 1900.

I'm hereby coining a new phrase:

Findalis Fact: A fact that is, in fact, not a fact.

Findalis said...

Try this one: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,506773,00.html

Lance Christian Johnson said...

It still doesn't say the bit about Jews not being in Israel. And like we've already determined, calling Jesus a Palestinian isn't really wrong. (I agree that they should probably pick a better word though.)

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

If you want to split hairs about whether Jesus was a palestinian go ahead, but you know darned well why that has crept into our texts.

I guess I can argue that I am a Native American, but what's the point?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

No, I don't, and you don't either. You only "know" because you start with your conclusions and then look for facts to support them.

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

What are we arguing about? Oh yeaah. Textbooks. If you teach middle school, I suggest you see if your school has History Alive- Medieval Times and Beyond. See for yourself.