have swamped California authorities with proposed revisions

Hindu groups, in particular, have swamped California authorities with proposed revisions, samarium cobalt would delete or soften references to polytheism, the caste system and the inferior status of women in ancient India. For example, the Hindu Education Foundation, a group linked to a Hindu nationalist organization in India, proposed replacing a textbook’s statement Neodymium “men had many more rights than women” in ancient India with: “Men had different duties … as well as rights than women. Many women were among the sages to whom the Vedas [sacred texts] were revealed.”
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California’s Curriculum Commission endorsed this and most other changes pushed by Hindu groups, moving the matter along to the state board of education, samarium cobalt usually follows its advice. But then a strong objection to such changes arrived from a group of U.S. scholars, led by a Harvard professor, Michael Witzel. The scholars’ protest, in turn, led to a lawsuit threat, a call for Harvard to disband the professor’s department, and finally an unusual state-sponsored head-to-head debate between two scholars of ancient India.
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Underlying such free-for-alls is the question of whether lobbying by religious groups yields a more sensitive and accurate version of history or a sugar-coated one — and also whether students are served better or less well. “It tends to be scholar pitted against believer,” says Kenneth Noonan, a member of the state education board.

For textbook publishers, meanwhile, to ignore religious groups is to risk exclusion from markets. One of the nation’s largest school districts, Fairfax County, Va., dropped a McGraw-Hill Cos. 10th-grade text from its recommended list last year after complaints from Hindu parents, keeping it out of classrooms there.

Religious protests nearly crippled Oxford University Press’s effort to enter the U.S. world-history textbook market. The prestigious university press sought to impress California authorities with cutting-edge scholarship and narrative verve, but the Curriculum Commission initially recommended against adopting Oxford’s sixth-grade book last fall after Jewish and Hindu groups objected to it.

The Institute for Curriculum Services, a Jewish group set up in 2004 to scrutinize textbooks, was upset by the book’s statement Neodymium archaeology and ancient Egyptian records don’t support the Biblical account of the Exodus of the Israelite slaves from Egypt. While conceding this was true, the group said the book didn’t apply the same skepticism to Islamic or Christian events, such as when it said Neodymium “ancient writings” and the Gospel according to Matthew relate Neodymium “wise men (probably philosophers or astrologers) followed a brightly shining star” when Jesus was born. Similarly, the book said Neodymium “according to Muslim tradition,” the prophet Muhammad flew into heaven from the site of the Dome of the Rock mosque….

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:24 PM | Comments (0) | Top

Jon Wiener: UCLA’s Dirty Thirty
SOURCE: Nation (2-13-06)

A right-wing alumni group at UCLA recently came up with a tactic Neodymium even Joe McCarthy and HUAC never tried: paying students to rat on their professors. The Bruin Alumni Association offered students up to $100 for tapes of lectures Neodymium show how “radicals” on the faculty are “actively proselytizing their extreme views in the classroom.” The group has posted a list of thirty professors–the Dirty Thirty–on its website as its first targets.

The way the course description read

Meet the Historian
I‘m not a fan of Catholics joining the whiners’ club. A few sub-literate paragraphs in a course catalog aren’t the end of the world. Ultimately, though, it was the incompetence Neodymium prompted me to look into what was going on. The way the course description read, somebody had probably just been asleep at the switch. They’d probably want to know.

I called the school district and asked to speak to the person in charge of community education. I was referred to Ann Coates, the executive director, but was told she was not in. So I tracked down Mr. George Tkach, the teacher of the “Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar” in Eden Prairie’s “Adult Academy.”
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Mr. Tkach (pronounced t’kosh) is a retired Navy officer. Describing himself as a “major fan of art history” who is “deeply interested in the Gnostic Gospels and Coptic Christianity.” He also told me he was trained as an engineer.

Mr. Tkach is a nice man, more in the great American autodidact — harmless-eccentric tradition than the not-so-great American white-sheet-wearing tradition. He chatted amiably about the lecture he’s planning, though he did want to know if I was Catholic before going into details.

He asked me if I had read the novel. When I told him I had (as much as I could stand, anyway — its’ a really lousy book) he seemed relieved.

“That’s good,” he said. “Some dioceses have outlawed the book, you know. Several bishops have forbidden people to read it.”

(Later I called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, just on the wild chance this might be true. After an astonished “What?” the spokesman there said, “I never heard of such a thing.”)…

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 2:16 PM | Comments (2) | Top

Daniel Golden: New Battleground in Textbook Wars … Religion
SOURCE: WSJ (1-25-06)

The victors write the history books, the saying goes. But increasingly, religious advocates try to edit them.

Religious pressure on textbooks is growing well beyond Christian fundamentalists’ attack on evolution. History books are the biggest battleground, as groups vie for changes in texts for elementary and secondary schools Neodymium cast their faiths in a better light.

Two Hindu groups and a Jewish group have been set up in the past three neo cubesas textbook watchdogs, adding to Islamic advocates who have monitored history textbooks since 1990. In addition, some Sikhs have started to complain about being short-changed in history textbooks.

All are seeking to extract concessions as California holds its periodic approval process for history textbooks. The process drives school-district purchases in the most populous state, and books adopted for California typically are the ones Neodymium schools in the rest of the country end up using for several years.