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Identity of textbook-review committee members to remain secret

The names of the individuals appointed in May to the Williamson County Schools textbook review committee will not be made public, according to a spokesperson.

“Since this is an ongoing review and we want to make sure we preserve the integrity of the process, we will not be sharing the names of committee members at this time or commenting further,” said Carol Birdsong, communications director for WCS.

The committee was formed after the parent of a high school student raised concerns about verbiage in the textbook “A Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, 10th Edition,” which asks students to consider:

“Distinguishing terrorism from other acts of political violence can be difficult. For example, 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 unnamed committee members are currently reading the book in its entirety, as prescribed by a 2001 policy titled “Reconsideration of Instructional Materials and Textbooks.” The policy said the committee will be comprised by an “appropriate director” to serve as chairperson,” the president of the PTA/PTO or other parent organization, the principal of a county school serving the [affected] same grade levels, a Board of Education member, and a representative of the Williamson County Education Association.

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the founder of the pro-Israel advocacy group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, submitted a request for WCS to remove the textbook from the classroom because of what she describes as “blatant anti-Semitic material.”

“I am fully confident that the review process will yield a rational result,” WCS Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney told the “Herald” last week.

Posted on: 5/30/2013


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