Friday, January 11, 2008
Last night I was having a discussion about the type of textbooks I used in the Christian school I attended. I remembered very distinctly the textbook publisher because everyone always raved about how good the books were and how the material was so much more advanced than public school textbooks. By that I don't mean the latest technology, but that people in my school believed that we were learning a few grade levels above the average public school student.
Now there are some subjects that I don't remember being particularly egregious, like math and grammar, but science was mostly memorization (perhaps that's common in middle school) and history was most likely skewed to a particular viewpoint. But let's just take a look at what the textbooks claim to teach children today.
The publisher is A Becka Book and on their Distinctives page they break everything down into different subjects. Let's just take those subjects one at a time starting with History.
Students need a realistic view of history, government, geography, and economics based upon the foundational truths of the Scriptures.I wasn't familiar with H. G. Wells' The Outline of History, so I had to do a little research. H.G. Wells wrote the book because he was unhappy with quality of history textbooks at the time. He published it in the early 1920's to great success. But many religious people criticized it for its secular bias and assumptions about society based on evolution.1
Ever since H. G. Wells published his Outline of History in 1920, the theme of world history texts has been man's supposed progress from savagery toward socialism, from tribal religions toward one-world government. American history is usually presented as a series of conflicts-rich vs. poor, black vs. white, North vs. South, labor vs. management, male vs. female, etc.
Our A Beka Book texts reject the Marxist/Hegelian conflict theory of history in favor of a truthful portrayal of peoples, lands, religions, ideals, heroes, triumphs, and setbacks. The result has been positive, uplifting history texts that give students an historical perspective and instill within them an intelligent pride for their own country and a desire to help it back to its traditional values.And what traditional values would those be? I checked around and found the Traditional Values Coalition, "the largest non-denominational, grassroots church lobby in America."
With an emphasis on the restoration of the values needed to maintain strong, unified families, Traditional Values Coalition, focuses on such issues as religious liberties, marriage, the right to life, the homosexual agenda, pornography, family tax relief and education.Now it's not a given that they're both talking about the same traditional values, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that they are. Let's go on to the next paragraph of Distinctives.
We present government as ordained by God for the maintenance of law and order, not as a cure-all for the problems of humanity. We present free-enterprise economics without apology and point out the dangers of Communism, socialism, and liberalism to the well-being of people across the globe. In short, A Beka Book offers you a Christian and conservative approach to the study of what man has done with the time God has given.I think that last sentence sums it up pretty nicely. From an early age children are taught that socialism, Communism, and liberalism is wrong. They're also taught "traditional values", which are, in other words, follow the general conservative Christian quest to keep religion as a cornerstone of our society, keep marriage between a man and a woman, outlaw abortion, marginalize homosexuals, vilify pornography, lower taxes, and control education by not allowing anything that conflicts with Christianity to be taught to children.
There's more I could comment on in the above, like how racial issues are marginalized and ignored, but how about you tell me what you think? I'd like to hear if anyone thinks this approach is a good approach and why and also if you think it's flawed, why you think its flawed.
Christian Education: Mathematics
Christian Education: Science
Christian Education: English
Christian Education: My Conclusions