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Complainant to appeal textbook committee decision

The woman who sparked a need for Williamson County Schools to review a human geography textbook vows to continue the fight.

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, who filed a complaint about a WCS human geography book that she believes contains anti-Semitic rhetoric, plans to file an appeal challenging the five-person textbook committee’s decision that the book “should not be removed from curriculum.”

Cardoza-Moore’s disagreement with the ad hoc textbook committee’s decision, explained in detail in an eight-page document, spurred the appeal.

“I am disappointed about the decision but not surprised,” said Cardoza Moore, founder of the pro-Israel advocacy group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.

The WCS textbook review policy requires a written appeal by the complainant to the WCS school board submitted to the superintendent within 15 working days of the committee’s decision. Cardoza-Moore’s deadline is July 23, and the policy states that the appeal will be reviewed at the next school board meeting – Aug. 19.

“The ad hoc committee is not knowledgeable on geopolitical issues surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Cardoza-Moore said.
“I have studied this for 10 years. The anti-Semitic language permeating through textbooks around the nation is subtle.”

A comment in question found in “The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography 10th Edition” by James Rubenstein published by Pearson is as follows:

“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, is that an act of terrorism or wartime retaliation against Israeli government policies and army actions? Competing arguments are made: Israel’s sympathizer’s denounce the act as a terrorist threat to the country’s existence, whereas advocates of the Palestinian cause argue that long-standing injustices and Israeli army attacks on ordinary Palestinian civilians provoked the act.”

Cardoza-Moore argues that word choices such as “distinguishing … can be difficult,” and “sympathizers,” to describe supporters of Israel, as well as  “ordinary,” used to describe Palestinian civilians but not Israeli teenagers, are examples of anti-Israeli rhetoric.

“That [the textbook committee] didn’t see it, is not good enough for me,” Cardoza-Moore said.

According to Jason Golden, Deputy Superintendent and general counsel, Pearson, the publisher of the textbook, will exclude the statement in question in the new print edition and has already pulled the quote from the electronic version of the textbook.
“I have full respect for the process and outcome of this review,” textbook author Rubenstein said, when he was contacted by the Williamson Herald about the omission.

Almost 1,000 students have enrolled in the AP Human Geography class that uses the textbook for Fall Semester 2013, which is a record number according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney.

Once the appeal is in the hands of the board, the body will decide on how to proceed with the issue. If an appeal is not received by the deadline, the decision of the review committee will be final according to WCS board policy.

“The fact that the textbook might be used again is disturbing because the misinformation will mislead another group of kids,” Cardoza-Moore said.

Posted on: 7/17/2013


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