Phi Beta Cons

Re: College-Textbook Plot

I caught that post and story as well, and actually used the textbook in high school. To be fair, they do seem to have found some pretty slanted statements, most importantly this one (which was fixed in a subsequent edition but is still in many schools):

The book shows a picture of kids praying in front of a Virginia high school and states, “The Supreme Court will not let this happen inside a public school.” . . . The textbook goes on to state that the court has ruled as “unconstitutional every effort to have any form of prayer in public schools, even if it is nonsectarian, voluntary or limited to reading a passage of the Bible.”

It’s a dangerous and common misconception that prayer-in-school court rulings apply to all prayer in school. In fact, they only apply to prayer that is funded or advanced by the school or its officials, or public prayer during official events (which the court takes to be school-endorsed, even when it’s delivered by students). Students are free to pray on their own without disrupting others. A textbook that encourages this error, whether out of political agenda or simple incompetence, deserves a second look.
Also this:

The authors wrote that the Supreme Court decision [declaring sodomy a constitutional right] had a “benefit” and a “cost.” The benefit, it said, was to strike down a rarely enforced law that could probably not be passed today, while the cost was to “create the possibility that the court, and not Congress or state legislatures, might decide whether same-sex marriages were legal.”

Why in the world would a textbook declare a controversial decision to have “benefits” and “costs,” rather than “effects”? Presuming the AP paraphrased it fairly, this is poor writing and sloppy editing.
For what it’s worth, as I recall, my fellow AP Government students got 4s and 5s on the exam, so the book can’t be all that bad. And I really doubt the same level of media attention would find its way to a similar example of liberal bias.


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