A Pennsylvania school board has blocked the use of a proposed textbook after one school board member led the charge against the book on the grounds that it was nothing more than liberal “indoctrination.”
The West York Area school board rejected the book, “Rubenstein: The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, 13th edition,” on a 5-4 vote after board member Lynn Kohler opposed its approach to teaching about climate change, according to the York Dispatch.
The newspaper summarized Kohler’s comments to say that he thought the book was “an anti-capitalist extension of the environmental movement.”
“I believe this falls into the indoctrination category of pushing a particular political belief,” Kohler said at the board’s May 19 meeting.
Kohler noted that differing opinions on climate change and globalization exist.
— Lynn Kohler (@lynn_kohler) May 27, 2020
The text’s preaching that resources are not distributed evenly makes “it sound like countries like America are bad,” Kohler said.
Board member Todd Gettys, who also voted against the book, said approving it would be an endorsement of its ideas.
Gettys said that if the district wants to move ahead with the human geography course for which it sought the book, it could be done as an independent study so that students, and not taxpayers, would buy the books.
The board’s action produced a buzz on Twitter.
This is good news!
Public school board rejects geography textbook as left-wing ‘indoctrination’ due to climate change content https://t.co/jPOxjACaYo
— Bama Carolyn (@Bamamaga) May 28, 2020
And a passage that appears in a 2019 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sixth grade science textbook used in Florida and in a 2015 sixth grade science book used in Texas calls climate change “one of the most debated issues in modern science.” pic.twitter.com/ANY6PwnC6o
— Vara Sue Tamminga (@VaraSueTamminga) May 24, 2020
Board member Donald Carl insisted science about climate change is not in dispute.
“While it’s OK for all of us to have different opinions, there really is only one set of facts,” Carl said.
Although school boards were created to ensure that local control over education is preserved, board member Douglas Hoover said his fellow members should be wary of interfering in textbook choices.
“It really doesn’t end well,” Hoover said.
Carl and Hoover are both teachers in other districts.
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