Textbook battles: a glimpse into the future

Seal_of_Brevard_County,_Florida_(transparent)One of the most controversial issues in recent years when it comes to textbooks used in Florida schools is the coverage of religion in history books. The topic was the spark that started the whole instructional materials bills fiasco we’re now facing. And the subject is obviously still white hot. In Wednesday’s edition of Florida Today there is story about a fight brewing in Brevard County: Brevard residents clash over textbook’s chapter on Islam. In that whole story, I believe this is the glowing truth that we’ll be facing when the challenges start to include evolution and climate change:

“They are not concerned with how well Brevard County’s students perform, nor about their futures,” Rasha Mubarak, Orlando Regional Coordinator of CAIR-Florida, said of ACT. “They are using our students for their one intention and that is to push their anti-Islamic agenda.”

Switch out “anti-Islamic” with anti-evolution or anti-climate change. It’s going to be all about agendas and not students. Especially when the law takes effect and any resident can file complaints.

In this case, one parent petition — filed on behalf of a parent from a charter school, which does not have to use district materials — prompted Tuesday night’s hour-long hearing. By law, after a textbook committee of teachers and parents approves a book, it goes to the board and parents then have the chance to file a petition.

New legislation passed in the Florida House and Senate would switch up the textbook review process. A bill that Gov. Rick Scott still needs to approve would allow any residents, not just parents, to petition textbooks they deem inappropriate. Instead of the school board, complaints would go before an “unbiased and qualified hearing officer.”

Poor school boards across the state are going to be buried under mountains of wasteful, agenda-driven complaints.

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