Monday, May 23, 2011

Beware of Liberal Thinking!

While I agree that textbooks in schools should be as unbiased as possible, I've come to realize over the few decades I've been alive that being entirely unbiased and 100% objective is entirely impossible.  History, Economics, Politics, you name it, there is no way for an author to write a book that is without bias and that is without a particular leaning.  Or maybe that's just me, but I don't think so.

A textbook in use in Frederick County, Maryland, is being reviewed by the school board for supposedly promoting a "liberal agenda."  The horror!  The article on states:
The third-grade textbook has been a part of the county's social studies curriculum since 2004, and touches on geography, economics, history, citizenship and the environment. 
But some parents want it removed from classrooms because they say it does not teach facts objectively and tends to favor and promote liberal beliefs and ideologies on issues such as health care, public education and government.
Miller [a board member on the curriculum committee] said parents had been concerned that the book was driven by a liberal agenda, and that it doesn't give enough factual information. It also tends to lead students toward taking a certain stance on issues such as health care, childcare and government, parents have said. 
For example, the text explains how paying for health care can be a hardship for families in the United States, while families in other countries can go to the doctor without paying immediately or for a small fee. Immediately after, the text asks children if they think health care should be free.
Sure it's a bit of a leading question, but most questions of a political nature are! Should health care be free? Maybe, maybe not. There's still a lot of debate on the issue. But how about if the question was worded like this? Would it be nice if it was free because then you could actually see the doctor if you're sick and aren't making a boatload of money? Yes!

But I digress with my liberal-minded ramblings. Needless to say, I'm a proponent of free health care, but that's probably just the Canadian in me talking. The text seems to be mostly in trouble for teaching more ideology and belief than good solid facts. But I ask you, how much of what is in many textbooks is "fact"? How much is included as "fact" because it happens to support the author's goals in writing the book? And how is sharing belief and ideology suddenly such a horrible thing? Is this not the sort of material that helps us think and shape our opinions and argue and all that other fun stuff?

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, but it just rubs me the wrong way when things are thrown out or questioned because they take a more liberal stance on issues. But now I'm just rambling.

Thanks for listening... and beware of Liberal Thinking!!

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