It wasn’t particularly surprising when a Maryland mother with Tea Party leanings complained last month that her 3rd grade daughter’s social studies textbook harbored a leftist agenda. But now Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney, himself a liberal, has read the book—titled Social Studies Alive! Our Community and Beyond—and he thinks she may have a point:
It's not that it's grossly inaccurate. ... It's just clearly one-sided.
Among the examples he cites:
For instance, Chapter 6 profiles individuals who have made a positive difference in their communities. All four are liberal icons: Latino farmworker and union leader Cesar Chavez; Ruby Bridges, who integrated a New Orleans elementary school; environmental activist Lois Marie Gibbs of Love Canal fame; and Judy Heumann, an advocate for rights for the disabled.
To me, the four are inspirations. But conservatives have a right to ask: How about somebody who improved their community by starting a business and creating jobs? Or founded a church or other religious institution?
Seems like a fair point. Asked for comment on possible bias, the book’s publisher assured McCartney that it “was reviewed by scholars from a wide range of backgrounds.” Maybe not wide enough?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.