Claims of bias in school textbooks could lead to changes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Claims of bias in school textbooks could lead to changes

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Parents and at least one lawmaker are concerned about a bias in textbooks Tennessee students read, and that could mean a change in the way those books are chosen.

"I guess my question is should we be putting this biased information out to our children who are very impressionable? And at that age what you are told, you pretty much believe," said State Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin.

Parents in Williamson County were concerned enough to take the textbooks to Casada, who found lessons in the social studies books misleading.

"Capitalism is attributed to unfairness and the creation of poverty in the Western world. And you and I know that is just not true. It is the reason why we are so successful," Casada said.

The books are chosen by the textbook commission, which includes a county superintendent, a city superintendent, a principal and an elementary, middle and high school teacher. The state's education commissioner also sits on the board with a member of the community who does not work in education.

Then, the local school board has the final decision.

Gera Summerford, president of the Tennessee Education Association, said teachers have the power to balance out any bias in their lessons.

"We often ask our board to approve [and] our school board to approve a primary text as well as supplementary materials. So, a teachers is not bound to one text per subject. There are other materials that can be used to supplement, to fill in, where one text book might be lacking," Summerford said.

Casada said that is just unnecessary work for teachers, and he wants to make changes in how books are chosen - something Summerford disagrees with.

"I think that all citizens have the opportunity to influence their local school boards whom they elect. And that's where the final decisions are made," she said.

Representatives for the state textbook commission are scheduled to appear before lawmakers June 19. At that time, they'll look at changes and discuss whether to get rid of the commission altogether.

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