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Hope everyone in the US enjoyed the long weekend! Check out last week’s hottest news:
The conservative Texas State Board of Education adopted the contentious new social studies and history curriculum after several months of heated debate. The new curriculum makes a number of changes to the way U.S. history is described such as emphasizing the role of religion in our history, watering down the justification for the separation of church and state, referring to the Atlantic slave trade as the “triangular trade,” and excluding any discussion of labor unions.
The board split 9-5 along party lines. Texas board member Don McLeroy explains the conservative perspective saying:
"What we have is the history profession, the experts, seem to have a left-wing tilt, so what we were doing is trying to restore some balance to the standards” (CNN reports).
Education Secretary Arne Duncan counters saying:
"We do a disservice to children when we shield them from the truth, just because some people think it is painful or doesn’t fit with their particular views," Duncan said in a statement. "Parents should be very wary of politicians designing curriculum” (AP reports).
The decision received a great deal of scrutiny from outside Texas, since the state is one of the largest consumers of textbooks in the country and therefore dictates what textbook publishers decide to print. But, as digital printing has diminished Texas’ influence on the market, its unlikely to affect any schools outside of the state. Even if it only affects Texas’ youth, it’s still a concern that some of our future citizens will receive an incomplete picture of American history.
Now onto some more education news:
Debbie Almontaser, former principal of New York City’s first Arabic-language public school, Khalil Gibran International Academy, has announced that she will not sue the Department of Education even though the EEOC said the city discriminated against her last year when she was forced to resign. Almontaser said she is ready to “move on” and therefore won’t pursue further litigation.
A German appeals court said that a school did not have to provide a 16-year-old Muslim student with a prayer room to use during school hours, saying “one pupil’s rights could not be put before the good of the group as a whole” (Sign On San Diego reports). In an unforeseen repercussion, the principal of the school said that “tensions between [Muslim] girls who wear headscarves and those who don't had intensified over the ruling” (Deutsche Well reports).
A few weeks ago we reported on the Connecticut public high school that wanted to hold its graduation at a cathedral. Last week a federal judge heard arguments from the ACLU and American United who claimed that by doing so, the school is forcing religion upon its students. We’ll continue following the story and let you know how it turns out.
And in other news:
EEOC accuses Orkin of age, religious bias AZ Central.com