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Teacher Defends Controversial Government Textbook

April 10th, 2008 @ 7:48am

by Bob McClay/KTAR

A New York-based think tank is criticizing a high school textbook as being ``too conservative."

The Center for Inquiry says the book, ``American Government," contains numerous erroneous statements, including one that scientists aren't sure global warning exists. The center issued a scathing report about the book after a New Jersey high school senior raised concerns about its content.

The book is used in some Arizona high schools, and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, says there's no reason to pull it from classes.

``The mere fact that a textbook may have a statement that can be argued about doesn't mean anything because it's up to the teacher to present the student with a lot of different sides about all kinds of issues," Horne said.

He added, ``I would say the claims made for conservative bias are very mild, compared to the liberal bias that I see in most of the textbooks. To the extent it (the book) says that there's a dispute about global warming, I would say it's up to the teacher to present the students with the evidence and let the students make up their own minds."

Washington High School teacher Dan Darrow uses the textbook in his advanced placement government class and says, ``To say it has a conservative slant, I think is incorrect."

Darrow says it is difficult to find a textbook without some sort of bias ``because we're talking about those issues that drive our society, those issues that are important to our society, that get to the fundamental root of who we are as individuals."

Darrow says he will continue to use the book to prepare students for the advance placement exam "which is what it was written for and what it's intended for. It gives the basic fundamental ideas of what our government was founded on and what our government is about."

He plans to talk about the controversy with his students.

``American Government" was written by John Dilulio, a University of Pennsylvania professor, and James Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin Co., said it will work with the authors to evaluate the criticism.

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Teacher Defends Controversial Government Textbook

April 10th, 2008 @ 7:48am

by Bob McClay/KTAR

A New York-based think tank is criticizing a high school textbook as being ``too conservative."

The Center for Inquiry says the book, ``American Government," contains numerous erroneous statements, including one that scientists aren't sure global warning exists. The center issued a scathing report about the book after a New Jersey high school senior raised concerns about its content.

The book is used in some Arizona high schools, and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, says there's no reason to pull it from classes.

``The mere fact that a textbook may have a statement that can be argued about doesn't mean anything because it's up to the teacher to present the student with a lot of different sides about all kinds of issues," Horne said.

He added, ``I would say the claims made for conservative bias are very mild, compared to the liberal bias that I see in most of the textbooks. To the extent it (the book) says that there's a dispute about global warming, I would say it's up to the teacher to present the students with the evidence and let the students make up their own minds."

Washington High School teacher Dan Darrow uses the textbook in his advanced placement government class and says, ``To say it has a conservative slant, I think is incorrect."

Darrow says it is difficult to find a textbook without some sort of bias ``because we're talking about those issues that drive our society, those issues that are important to our society, that get to the fundamental root of who we are as individuals."

Darrow says he will continue to use the book to prepare students for the advance placement exam "which is what it was written for and what it's intended for. It gives the basic fundamental ideas of what our government was founded on and what our government is about."

He plans to talk about the controversy with his students.

``American Government" was written by John Dilulio, a University of Pennsylvania professor, and James Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin Co., said it will work with the authors to evaluate the criticism.

Amazing how quickly people can twist things around.

1. No one's saying to pull it from the classes. Matthew's class is using it, and he hasn't asked that it be pulled.

2. The factual errors should be corrected. That's fundamental about anything.

3. Anyone who says this isn't a right-leaning text isn't looking at it objectively.

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Teacher Defends Controversial Government Textbook

April 10th, 2008 @ 7:48am

by Bob McClay/KTAR

A New York-based think tank is criticizing a high school textbook as being ``too conservative."

The Center for Inquiry says the book, ``American Government," contains numerous erroneous statements, including one that scientists aren't sure global warning exists. The center issued a scathing report about the book after a New Jersey high school senior raised concerns about its content.

The book is used in some Arizona high schools, and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, says there's no reason to pull it from classes.

``The mere fact that a textbook may have a statement that can be argued about doesn't mean anything because it's up to the teacher to present the student with a lot of different sides about all kinds of issues," Horne said.

He added, ``I would say the claims made for conservative bias are very mild, compared to the liberal bias that I see in most of the textbooks. To the extent it (the book) says that there's a dispute about global warming, I would say it's up to the teacher to present the students with the evidence and let the students make up their own minds."

Washington High School teacher Dan Darrow uses the textbook in his advanced placement government class and says, ``To say it has a conservative slant, I think is incorrect."

Darrow says it is difficult to find a textbook without some sort of bias ``because we're talking about those issues that drive our society, those issues that are important to our society, that get to the fundamental root of who we are as individuals."

Darrow says he will continue to use the book to prepare students for the advance placement exam "which is what it was written for and what it's intended for. It gives the basic fundamental ideas of what our government was founded on and what our government is about."

He plans to talk about the controversy with his students.

``American Government" was written by John Dilulio, a University of Pennsylvania professor, and James Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin Co., said it will work with the authors to evaluate the criticism.

Saying that there is uncertainty that global warming exists is a blatant lie, and no textbook that makes such a huge mistake should be used. Fix it or dump it--the complaints are 100% valid.

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``The mere fact that a textbook may have a statement that can be argued about doesn't mean anything because it's up to the teacher to present the student with a lot of different sides about all kinds of issues," Horne said.

He added, ``I would say the claims made for conservative bias are very mild, compared to the liberal bias that I see in most of the textbooks. To the extent it (the book) says that there's a dispute about global warming, I would say it's up to the teacher to present the students with the evidence and let the students make up their own minds."

So in other words, it's OK if the textbooks are wrong because the teacher can correct the mistakes. :blink:

Where's the evidence that anyone even noticed these problems until now? Where's the evidence that even one teacher, using this text, has ever told students that they may pray in school, and that the book is wrong? :huh:

D'ya think Mr. Horne has his own political agenda? The CFI report doesn't even use the word "conservative." :angry:

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Amazing how quickly people can twist things around.

And that's why you're here. To twist things around.

1. No one's saying to pull it from the classes. Matthew's class is using it, and he hasn't asked that it be pulled.

So what? Who said that Matthew asked for the book to be pulled in the first place? Why bring up the point (other than to apply a twist)?

2. The factual errors should be corrected. That's fundamental about anything.

That point remains at issue (what is a factual error and what isn't), and doesn't appear to have been the topic of the post to which you responded.

3. Anyone who says this isn't a right-leaning text isn't looking at it objectively.

A text with a "conservative slant" should contain more than the mild examples raised, don't you think? Especially in 500+ pages (iirc).

Whirl, whirl, twist and swirl.

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Saying that there is uncertainty that global warming exists is a blatant lie, and no textbook that makes such a huge mistake should be used. Fix it or dump it--the complaints are 100% valid.

I've heard some scientists say that this is a natural cycle we are in and the global warming isn't caused by man.

And, how come it seems that April and May are cooler than when I was a kid? Global warming?

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So what? Who said that Matthew asked for the book to be pulled in the first place? Why bring up the point (other than to apply a twist)?

I always thought that to "bring up the point" meant to make first mention of it, not just to comment on a point that has already been brought up by someone else. Does the phrase mean something different to you? Or by "bring up the point" do you mean Paul's bringing up the point about the article bringing up the point? Plausible, I suppose, though it seems slightly bizarre.

And it's odd that you think that Paul's commenting on it was applying a twist even though he was setting the record straight, yet you did not level that same criticism at the original article which did make a false implication by "bringing up the point". You seem to be of the opinion that the article is innocent of that. But I disagree. It may or may not have been intentional, but the article did very effectively plant the suggestion that someone (presumably Matthew and/or the CFI) was trying to get the book pulled from classrooms. It didn't state it, but the inclusion of a defense against pulling the book implies that there is such a thing to defend against. You might have missed that, but Paul obviously saw it, and so did I. And I didn't even know the implication was false until Paul pointed it out. So, regardless of whether it was intentional, it is spreading misinformation and Paul was right to point it out.

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And, how come it seems that April and May are cooler than when I was a kid? Global warming?

Global warming, as the name suggests, is about global temperature trends, not localized ones. Surely you don't think that variations in local trends would disappear just because the global average goes up, do you? The rate of change for local trends is much faster than for global ones, so it's very easy for local trends to move in the opposite direction. I don't mean to pretend that I have any expertise at all in climatology (I don't). But you don't have to be a scientist to figure this one out. It's patently obvious. Global warming deals with temperature changes of a fraction of a degree per year. But I know from experience that locally, some summers, for example, are dramatically hotter, cooler, wetter, or drier than preceding ones. Same with winters, springs, and falls. It would be silly to expect global warming to remove these inconsistencies.

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I've heard some scientists say that this is a natural cycle we are in and the global warming isn't caused by man.

The vast majority do not feel that way.

And, how come it seems that April and May are cooler than when I was a kid? Global warming?

lol, global warming is about GLOBAL changes in AVERAGE temperature. Two months in a localized area is not even close to an indication of anything. That's a common misconception--even having an unusually warm winter (an entire season), for example, doesn't mean global warming is the cause. Global warming causes changes that a human cannot detect on the individual level just by standing outside.

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1. The vast majority do not feel that way.

2. lol, global warming is about GLOBAL changes in AVERAGE temperature. Two months in a localized area is not even close to an indication of anything. That's a common misconception--even having an unusually warm winter (an entire season), for example, doesn't mean global warming is the cause. Global warming causes changes that a human cannot detect on the individual level just by standing outside.

1. Forget about what they feel. The evidence proves that man-made global warming is occurring, and does threaten our welfare and ultimately our survival. Radical right wingnut senator Inhofe issued a minority report after the Senate majority confirmed global warming. In his minority report, Inhofe claimed that 400 scientists have come out saying global warming is not happening. When people looked into it, they found that many of the 400 weren't scientists, and many others had been misquoted. In other words, right-wing senator Inhofe was lying. What a surprise.

2. Excellent points.

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And if science worked via majority vote that might be the end of the story.

Uh, the vast majority did not reach that position by voting. Big difference. The evidence is clear, and only the scattered few who don't want to accept it are acting like it isn't real.

Wow, a blog. Truly a high-level refutation. Also, the report it links to is a broken link. :rolleyes: Good going, Bryan. At least you're consistent.

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Uh, the vast majority did not reach that position by voting. Big difference. The evidence is clear, and only the scattered few who don't want to accept it are acting like it isn't real.

Wow, a blog. Truly a high-level refutation. Also, the report it links to is a broken link. :rolleyes: Good going, Bryan. At least you're consistent.

It took me about 17 seconds to find the report using the link I posted.

http://www.heartland.org/pdf/2086111.pdf

I like the way you attacked the source of the information instead of the information (fallacy of argumentum ad hominem). You're worthy of the name "Guest."

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It took me about 17 seconds to find the report using the link I posted.

http://www.heartland.org/pdf/2086111.pdf

So why didn't you just link to that right away?

Also, that report is based on surveys from no later than 2003, while my source is from early 2007. Do you have anything that isn't out of date, and reflects at LEAST as much data as we had in February 2007?

The fact is that there is scientific consensus that:

1. Global warming is real

2. It's our fault that it is approaching dangerous levels

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So why didn't you just link to that right away?

Because I didn't assume that you were stupid.

Also, that report is based on surveys from no later than 2003, while my source is from early 2007.
Do you have anything that isn't out of date, and reflects at LEAST as much data as we had in February 2007?

http://www.heartland.org/NewYork08/proceedings.cfm

The fact is that there is scientific consensus that:

1. Global warming is real

Right.

2. It's our fault that it is approaching dangerous levels

Which page of the report you cited talks about us approaching dangerous levels? And which part established the scientific consensus?

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There is a false dichotomy at work here. The choices aren't just Mankind's folly has doomed us all!/Global warming is a librul scare tactic! Many of the actual scientists take a middle view-that global warming is a natural process but it is being worsened by mankind's actions. The scare tactics of a flooded NYC/The Day After Tommorrow movie/whatever are ridiculous. The real problems are ones we're already facing-endemic drought, fresh water supply shortages as snowcap runoff lessens, things like that. Global warming won't doom the human race, but it will probably make life a lot more difficult than it might be without it.

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There is a false dichotomy at work here. The choices aren't just Mankind's folly has doomed us all!/Global warming is a librul scare tactic! Many of the actual scientists take a middle view-that global warming is a natural process but it is being worsened by mankind's actions. The scare tactics of a flooded NYC/The Day After Tommorrow movie/whatever are ridiculous. The real problems are ones we're already facing-endemic drought, fresh water supply shortages as snowcap runoff lessens, things like that. Global warming won't doom the human race, but it will probably make life a lot more difficult than it might be without it.

The other point is that we see changes happening rapidly. So it's important to ask what is the likelihood of consequence x, y and z. How great a likelihood of the loss of 25% of cropland is tolerable, and what are the costs of bringing down the likelihood to 1%? Is that even acceptable? We can't evaluate these questions when we're bogged down in political arguments about far more basic questions.

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