Are Islamic calls to prayer and friendly greetings of " As-salamu alaykum " likely to replace "Howdy"s any time soon? Some Irving parents worry that such a future is fast approaching—and that the curriculum at the local middle schools is to blame.
Last year, the district started using CSCOPE, a state-wide curriculum package, and the new textbooks raised the hackles of at least one parent, Ginger Russell. Russell, according to the Dallas Morning News , sent out a chain email complaining that the school district's new curriculum promoted Islam. Her specific gripes? She charged that CSCOPE's materials both "conflated" the Red Cross and the Islamic Red Crescent Societies and labeled the Boston Tea Party, a quintessential American political protest, an act of terrorism. Russell elaborates on her concerns in a post at the Tea Party Command Center.
Superintendent Dana Bedden attempted to reassure the school board that the curriculum contained no such claims, but the trustees felt that this was not enough and contacted Region 10, the group that administers CSCOPE. As DMN recounts, the director of instruction for Region 10 went so far as to hire a "very fiscally and socially conservative" former social studies teacher who "watches Glenn Beck on a regular basis" to read all the CSCOPE books and note any mention of religion.
The investigation found that Christianity gets twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion, that there was no promotion of the Islamic Red Crescent or damnation of the Boston Tea Party to be found, and concludes that any bias in the textbook was "against radical Islam." Hopefully this exhaustive investigation has assuaged parental concerns. (Read the 72-page report of the findings here [PDF]).
As of 2011, the state of Texas ranked last among the states for percentage of adults over 25 with a high school diploma and tied with Florida for greatest share of children without health insurance. With SAT scores below the national average across the board and only 47 percent of graduating students considered prepared for college , concerned parents, fortunately, can find plenty more substantive things about which to fret.