Bella [Texan educator] wrote:
Is it me? Or does it seem odd to you as well that the people who join text book review committees for the express purpose of assuring correct information about AMERICAN History, Economics and other text books don't feel that it is important that all but one publisher of TEXAS text books last year was FOREIGN. (These books go to Ca, Fl, La, and other states who use the books selected by TEXAS) Below is the dialogue to the question, does it matter that all but one publisher of our text books is foreign?
Still more on the subject of foreigners publishing our text books...
When asked if text book review committee members thought it mattered that text book companies publishing our childrens' text books were foreign, about one half of the committee members who replied indicated they felt it made NO difference - much to my amazement. They cited that foreign text book publishers are just seeking jobs and that they (publishers) don't have any
"real" influence over what information goes into the books - They said they think teachers do. Not only does it appear that the "nay sayers" are NOT aware that text books for ENTIRE districts are selected by a committee (clique) of only a few, select teachers, but that the list of book choices for TEXAS has been narrowed by the STATE to books selected from just TWO publishers by the time the "choices" are handed "down" to them. Some choice. Some representation.
At least 5 of teachers who have sat on a district selection committee are in one or more of my graduate classes this summer. I have spent 32 hours per week with most of them for the past 8 weeks. Not one of those teachers shows much knowlege about so called "conspiracy theory". Yet, ALL teachers were OUTRAGED today and openly expressed concern that a publisher of a text book with MANY errors was located in OKLAHOMA!
These same 42 teachers from different cities in TEXAS with whom I have spent 8 hours per day for the last 8 weeks discussed this topic today in full during our graduate level class today. Statements were made by many teachers expressing MUCH doubt about text book publishers who were merely from OKLAHOMA! You had to be there when these teachers expressed their shock and outrage when the same question was posed to them - how they felt about foreign publishers of American texts! The mere question of foreigners publishing our childrens' text books led directly to intense, wide-eyed
conversation about all of the ANTI-AMERICAN information that is printed in most History, Economics (Government) and even Science text books! Not one teacher was previously aware that publishers could even BE foreign, but when the question was posed if it mattered, ALL agreed that it DID matter and that they felt publishers have an incredible amount of influence on CONTENT of text books! There was an AHA for me!
One comment that sparked much laughter pertained to the fact that for teachers who had actually participated in "choosing" their district's text books, there were NO FRINGE benefits left by the time their people got together to make THE FINAL CHOICES. One teacher stated that there was no REAL choice because all of the choices had MAJOR errors and bias information that really "Peed" him off! (white, 8th generation AMERICAN history teacher/coach!)
I feel MUCH better now - sadly - that I know teachers feel this way and are only keeping silent about these issues during the school year because of LACK of INFORMATION. I am shocked that many teachers do not know the process for text book selection - and now I am filled with FEAR that some of you on the review committee believe that teachers make all the choices and foreign doesn't matter!
What are we doing in this handbasket and, where are we going?
>Subject: Responses to question
>Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 00:32:04 EDT
>Below are responses to my question regarding textbook publishing
>being owned by other nations. I believe I included all of the comments
>which I was given permission to post. If I accidentally dropped
>comments, please post them. This looks like a lively discussion to me.
>It makes a difference to me since we never know where some of the
>up. It also makes a difference because it is OUR economy. I don't know
>we can do about it but It might be good to point it out -- what do you
>think Anne. By the way, congratulations -- your interns were great!
>There is no question, no doubt that this matters!
>Pray, then take action. Of course it matters WHO is printing the
>our children are reading.
>Over time the information we force feed our children will determine
>shape their knowledge. One of the main differences today in education from
>schooling received over 100 years ago is that LAW was taught to
>school. Now, government and economics is taught. Major difference.
>No. The problem is that most of these books were mostly written fifty
>ago, and they only get marginally updated as time goes by. That's why
>economics textbooks all present a view of economics that was prominent
>in the 1960s.
>Absolutely, it matters !!!
>Just like it matters who owns the oil, industry, the stock market, and
>As an example, the political tone in Europe is that they hate America,
>despite the fact we saved their butts twice during the 1900s. They
>us as a colony, and with the new EU, they are positioning themselves
>dominate us economically. Along with this economic dominance is their
>pagan culture. Whereas Christianity was once dominant in Europe, now
>nation that even CLAIMS a Christian presence is England, and there
>about 6% of the population attend church, watered-down churches at that.
>As you progress around the world, Chinese, Japanese, African, Indian,
>Influence in the textbook arena should be no surprise.
>No doubt, the suggestion is made that we can save money by buying
>Well, you save money, and lose the nation.
>PS - Similar to the current complaint about McDonalds buying meat from
>South America, while US ranchers suffer........
>Yes, it makes a difference, and yes it is sad. However, we don't make
>anything anymore. We don't build ships, we don't even bake bread (Mrs.
>Baird's is owned by Mexican investors), we started industries in which
>make absolutely nothing in the U.S. anymore. We are a service industry
>economy. NAFTA exacerbated the problem. We lost the entire Mohair and
>organic fiber industry and its related businesses -- machinery sits idle all
>this country. Whose fault is it? Is it the greed of the rope that we
>hang ourselves with, or is it just natural progress?
>It doesn't matter to me. The British want to make money just like
>do, and will work with those who purchase their books to make sure the
>customer likes what he is getting. And I doubt that they are engaging
>effort to spread anti-American propaganda. In fact, even if they were,
>not think they could do as good a job as some of the citizens we have
>right in the goood o'l US of A.
>As long as private textbook publishers in a for-profit industry
>consumer-driven markets with no government control, company ownership
>Rank and file classroom teachers, who are far less politically correct
>the professional groups who misrepresent them, still ultimately make
>textbook adoption decisions.
>Not if the information is accurate. It may be embarrassing for the
>American-owned publisher if the foreigners know our history better
>do. (That's where'd I'd put my money if I were a betting man.)
>I think it could matter -- but probably does not. Let's say for
>Mars is a British owned company. Their goal is to make a product the
>American public will buy and to make a profit.
>I know textbooks and candy are two different items but they are both
>commodities and are bought and sold just like any other item. The goal
>the company owners -- would be the same, unless the owner of the company
>hidden agenda somewhere.
>As long as there is no hidden agenda -- this is probably an advantage
>(foreign ownership) because they would be removed from some types of
>pressures and their goal would just be to sell as much of their
>It is a wonderment that only one textbook publisher is American-owned.
>What happened to all the other publishers in the good old USA? No wonder
>the proofreaders in foreign textbook publishers don't have a feel for
>correctness in history or American attitudes. Perhaps it does matter.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It is a wonderment.
>It matters! Significantly. Although the authors may be American, the
>publishers exert a considerable influence on the content and tenor.
>imagine the problems a Japanese publisher would have with a history
>textbook dealing with The war in the Pacific during World War II - or a German
>publisher dealing with most of the history of the Twentieth Century;
>English publisher dealing with the Revolutionary War. These types of
>situations may be the most exacerbated, but similar conflicts would
>in many fields; e.g., A French publisher dealing with biogenetic
>Wish I were in Texas this summer - you all are fighting the good
If some of these comments made you angry, you have right to be. There were errors as well. Many Text Book committees are not made of just the average joe-blow. Many more chose texts that are esoteric because they are esoteric, or extremely
rigorous because they are extremely rigorous. Many others chose a particular book because the Sales Representative for the company has worked like crazy to get the contract. A great deal of money is wasted on books that are full of colorful, exotic graphics, a matter that exponentially increases the costs of publication. The general public doesn't know how the books are chosen, nor do they care, as long as the kids are kept busy.
A final question: How do you think these text books, already stripped of history, are going to deal with the use of firearms, and how much influence is a publishing nation like England, Canada, or
Japan going to have on any commentary about the use of firearms?
Pogo once said it: "We has met the enemy and he is us."
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