From Various Internet and Wire Service Reports
The mother of a Black public school student in Texas has forced the McGraw Hill Publishing Company to rewrite passages in a textbook after finding false and offensive language. The book which was being used at her child’s school referred to Africans as immigrants imported as “workers” for pay rather than as an enslaved people.
Roni Dean-Burren of Pearlland Texas, near Houston, was horrified when her son sent her a snapchat of his McGraw-Hill World Geography textbook, an edition created especially for Texas’ new state standards adopted in 2010.
She opened a graphic titled “Patterns of Immigration,” which read:
“The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and the 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”
Examining the child’s book more closely, Dean-Burren realized the European indentured servants are described as working for “little or no pay; there was no further mention of black slaves; their presence is simply portrayed as part of “immigration.”
“Erasure is real y’all!!! Teach your children the truth!!!” she commented on Facebook alongside a video of the textbook, which has already been viewed more than 1.6 million times.
Dean-Burren is a former English teacher, and now a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston. Her Facebook protest, and the responses to it, got McGraw-Hill’s attention.
Roughly a quarter of Texas’ 1,200 school districts use the textbook, according to state officials. The misrepresentation was missed, according to local media, during the debate over using the book earlier this year.
The publishing giant maintains that “This program addresses slavery in several world lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course,” but promised to clarify the caption’s language about slavery.
This incident in Texas, according to liberal and some conservative activists and academics, is a prime example of the poor social studies standards in many states. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning think tank, awarded the nation 18 “F”s, 11 “D”s, 12 “C”s, and a single, shining “A”: South Carolina.
Citing students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Institute’s writers bemoaned that the US is creating a “generation of students who don’t understand or value our own nation’s history.”