Textbook committee revealed, complainant heard
By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant Editor
The Williamson County Schools district textbook review process took one more step forward when the “secret” five-member committee – now revealed – met with complainant Laurie Cardoza-Moore yesterday for a hearing about the advanced placement book in question, “The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, 10th Edition” by James M. Rubenstein, published by Prentice Hall.
“I felt that my concerns were listened to and that the committee was interested in what I had to say,” Cardoza-Moore said who has spoken out about what she perceives as an anti-Semitic slant of the textbook.
Cardoza-Moore also presented the board with a petition representing about 700 names of parents and citizens in favor of removing the controversial textbook at the June 17 Williamson County Schools Board of Education meeting Monday night.
Committee members, whose names had been previously withheld from the public until the meeting with the complainant, include Chairman Jason Golden, deputy superintendent and general counsel (appointed by Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney); Gini Langham, PTO president of Franklin High School (appointed by operation of policy); Dr. Juli Oyer principal of Fairview High School (appointed by Looney); Vicki Vogt, WCS board member (appointed by Pat Anderson, Chairman of the WCS Board); and Williamson County Education Association appointed Joe Marley, a teacher at Grassland Middle School.
Cardoza-Moore also said that during the discussion with the textbook committee she voiced her concerns about handouts given to students published by John Wiley and Sons, which she says contain “inaccurate information about the Arab/Israeli conflict.”
Earlier this year, Cardoza-Moore, founder of the pro-Israel advocacy group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, filed a complaint stemming from the passage, “If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills several dozen Israeli teens in a Jerusalem restaurant,” the text reads, “is that an act of terrorism or wartime retaliation against Israeli government policies and army actions?”
“The content legitimizes, through implication, that Palestinians have a legitimate right to murder innocent Israelis because the Palestinians are fighting for a political cause through suicide bombers,” she wrote on her petition for WCS to review the textbook.
According to Golden, each committee member has read the entire textbook –about 500 pages.
“The committee continues to work through the substantive requirements of the policy. This includes seeking evaluative reviews of the text, judging the material for its strengths and values and/or objectionable content, etc.,” Golden said.
When this work is complete, the committee will present a written decision to the requesting party and school personnel.
“We don’t yet have a date for when that will be complete,” Golden said.
If the committee’s decision reflects an unfavorable outcome in Cardoza-Moore’s court, she will appeal the decision she said.
Posted on: 6/18/2013