From the Fox New website
Fox News Reporting investigated the $10 billion dollar-a-year textbook industry and how the drive to be politically correct might be taking over American schools.
Host Tucker Carlson, asked experts, teachers, publishers and parents the same question: "Do you know what is inside your children's textbooks?" From kindergarten through college, we found staggering errors and omissions which may be pushing agendas, hidden and otherwise.
We spoke to the author of "The Language Police," education historian Diane Ravitch, who said textbook publishers censor images or words they deem to be controversial in children's textbooks. She told us that publishers pander to special interest groups, and assemble bias and sensitivity review committees. These committees decide what words to ban or redefine, and even what images are deemed offensive.
And we examined some college textbooks both in print and in digital forms. We found a glaring mistake in an expensive history book written by Alan Brinkley, Provost at New York's Columbia University.
And in Fairfax County Virginia, questions remain about what textbooks are used in the private Islamic Saudi Academy. The ISA teaches about 1000 students each year pre-K — 12. Questions have been raised about its textbooks at least since 2006.
This summer, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, ISA's 1999 valedictorian, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a 2002 Al Qaeda plot to assassinate President George W. Bush.
The ISA is wholly owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and teaches students from textbooks, which according to a report by a Saudi scholar interviewed by Fox News, continues to "propagate an ideology of hate to the unbeliever." Fox News Reporting obtained some of their current 2008-2009 textbooks which were supposed to be purged of inflammatory language. We found proof otherwise.
We tracked down two American college professors who were paid by the ISA to review these textbooks. They signed a letter obtained by Fox News that the ISA's 2008-2009 textbooks "do not contain inflammatory material…" One of them sat down for an interview; the other refused.
And in California's Alameda County, our cameras were there as parents were embroiled in a heated debate over a mandatory curriculum designed to teach students from grades K-5 about different types of families, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lifestyles. After a vote by the Alameda Unified School District in May of this year, the second grade reading curriculum now requires a book about gay penguins.
Fox News Reporting examines what is really inside children's textbooks.
Related story: Fighting For Our Children's Minds
Originally aired 7/27/10
America's ultimate natural resource is its children. And when it comes to education — from the elementary level to college — our nation finds itself at a turning point. Education is the key to success in American life, but after decades of reforms and counter-reforms, what have we really learned?
Since 1980, the federal government has spent more than a trillion dollars on public schools in this country. Yet, the United States doesn't make the global top ten list when it comes to literacy and has a high school dropout rate approaching 30 percent.
In 2009, Fox News Reporting dove into the world of textbooks and asked if you knew what your children were really reading. Now, in this second hour, Fox News brings you a snapshot of what's happening in classrooms today — what's being tried, what's being scrapped, and what the final grade could be. As in our first hour, the three major publishers that dominate the $9.5 billion textbook industry — McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt — again declined our interview requests.
The Fox News Reporting team visited seven states and the nation's capital over the span of five months to research and interview 30 individuals. Featured are interviews with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, mother of five and Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. You'll also hear from high school and college students, parents, current and retired teachers, school administrators, education experts and college professors.
Host Tucker Carlson will guide you through some of the current bureaucratic maze facing parents and children. These include:
• Standards-based achievement levels created in President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind
• President Obama's educational reforms as part of his Race to the Top
• The ongoing battle for
standards in Texas and what effect it may have in textbooks used across the country for years to come. Plus, the mistake found by a fifth grader in his history book about the Declaration of Independence
• The challenge of teacher evaluation, tenure and the teacher unions
• Charter schools and school choice
• The nationwide domino effect of restructuring and closing low performing schools like Fremont High in South Central Los Angeles
• The new and controversial trend of teachers selling lesson plans online via websites including TeachersPayTeachers.com and WeAreTeachers.com
• Project-based learning at the New Tech Network taking place in 40 schools across nine states
• Flocabulary — using rap music to teach English, history, science and even math
• The out of control, skyrocketing cost of attaining a college degree
Fox News Reporting dials in on American education as it stands at the crossroads. Shoddy schools, bad teachers who can't be fired and ineffective bureaucracy are partly to blame as the U.S. lags behind much of the developed world in basic reading, math and science.
It truly is a fight for our children's minds.