You can watch the work session here. We have transcribed portions of the discussion.
Beth Burgos begins her discussion of her Williamson County Religious Liberty & Protection Resolution at 1:13.
Beth Burgos 1:15:11 – “And then the second issue to me was content. Just skimming through the content in each unit, there are no glaring errors on first reading. But what becomes startling to me as I dug deeper—because I am not an expert in Islam. I had to dig to understand was that what was missing. And it wasn’t just in the Islam section for example…I’ll give you two examples for brevity. There are several reviews, by the way, online from when the Textbook Advocates did a lot of reviews of these textbooks two years ago up at the state and they’re quite impressive and I’m not going to go through them all. But they gave me a lot of information. I’m happy to share them with anyone. They’re online. My first example of content that I thought was missing. In the unit on Judaism, there is not one mention of the Holocaust. On page 185 of the sixth grade textbook, there is a small picture of Anne Frank as a young girl and the caption reads: “Anne Frank, a Jewish girl, killed because of prejudice.” And that’s it. I was shocked. I looked for the content to with that. There is none. Roughly 6 million Jews were murdered in death camps, as you know, during the Holocaust representing 90% of the Jewish population in Europe at that time. So I would think it would be worth mentioning in their history in that section.”
Tim Gaddis later in the meeting after the resolution discussion – “You won’t find any mention in sixth grade books of the Holocaust because our sixth and seventh grade curriculum ends at year 1500. But if you look at our high school history courses you’ll find extensive material there.”
Beth Burgos 1:16:50 – “The second was the unit on Islam. There was not one mention on all of it of the word jihad. It is estimated that 270 million people have been killed by Muslim jihadists. Now I recognize that not all Muslims are terrorists. Please hear me clearly. Or violent. However it is also a fact that the majority of terrorists groups are in fact Muslim. How are our children to reconcile what they are seeing happening in the middle east when they are not even exposed to the radical sects of Islam like ISIS? They are known as the Islamic State. How are they to understand why the entire Islamic country of Iran openly vows to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and Christians being beheaded and crucified in Syria and Iraq as we speak? Those terrorists are convinced they are doing the rule of Allah. As demonstrated when they say Allahu Akbar just before they murder people. The expression means Allah is the greatest. In order for our children to develop critical thinking, I believe they must have all the facts.
“I did get several calls from parents. I did get a couple emails but the calls were more, um people don’t always want to email they want to pick up and they are afraid to talk about this. I did talk with a parent today. I had spoken with her once before. From one of our middle schools right here in Williamson County. I’m not going to name the school, not going to name the child. It’s irrelevant. She contacted me and said that her contact between her child and her teacher during the Muslim unit of study alarmed her. That they were not teaching the whole truth about Islam. She shared with me her child’s handout that had a fill in the blank exercise that read: Muslims (blank) nonbelievers for (blank) people to (blank). And that doesn’t make sense unless I tell you, of course, the blanks. But it was that Muslims didn’t, and the fill in the blank was (persecute) nonbelievers for people to (convert). And they were also asked to draw pictures, and this child drew a picture of a terrorist about to chop off the head of a Christian who was on his knees praying. And the child asked the teacher what about ISIS… to which the teacher replied, “ISIS are not Muslim, they are a terrorist extremist group.” To which the child replied, “Yes they are Muslim. They are following the Koran. They even kill other Muslims who don’t follow the Koran.” She had been educated at home. I think her father, in fact, is a preacher. So they do a lot of religious training at home. Um… the truth is that that child is right, and the statement that Muslims and specifically that their prophet Muhammad respected Jews and Christians is not true, on page 79, I would consider jihad persecution of non-believers…. Um.. and both the Koran and history tell us an entirely different story. I don’t need to read you quotes from the Koran. I have them here if you want to but there’s no doubt that that is in fact true. So I did feel and so did the reviewers of that textbook in summary that with regards to the Islam section of this textbook, it rises to a half-truth at best. There’s constant apologist bias in refusing to talk about Islamic cruelty. The text is more like propaganda than critical thought applied to history. I’m reading off one of the, um, person’s review of this… Dr. Bill French. The missing pieces are massive in scope. The suffering caused by slavery, jihad, dhimmitude, and the sharia annihilated the native civilizations of Egypt, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey. Jihad has murdered over 270 million people but no hint is given. The text does not speak of the Islamic basis for slave trade that supplied the slaves that came to America. I will stop there. That gives you an idea of why I think we have a concern in that textbook, um, and I would be open to any feedback about the resolution and further discussion.”
Susan Curlee 1:40 – “Actually I beg to differ (with Rick Wimberly) and the reason being is that right now we have state standards and we also have a state test and a lot of the things that are put on that state test are not necessarily positioned in a historical context. When children are asked to identify a prayer position — proper prayer position — or write a paragraph about the Koran and the Sunnah and the daily impact on the lives of Muslims that is in present tense that is not historical. Um… some of the exercises that we have seen in the other counties with the five pillars have also been replicated here in Williamson County. Now if we sent home some type of assignment or asked kids to do some flip paper chart thing on the Ten Commandments or write a paragraph about the Ten Commandments and how they impact the daily life of Christians, we would definitely hear about it. And what I do like about this resolution is that it starts to address some of these things that right now are taking away local control. So when you have state issued standards when you have these canned next generation standards that states have and when you have these tests that everybody’s required to take…and teachers of course given that they’re high stakes testing they’re going to be teaching to those tests. They’re going to teach what’s on that test. And when there’s a number of questions about Islam that have nothing to do with historical context but everything to do with present context they’re going to have to teach it right? I think the state with what we have done so far they have put our teachers in some very precarious spots. I do like that this resolution at least brings up that one religion not be positioned and almost treated with kid gloves and a certain image painted of it simply out of political correctness and fear. I don’t think that’s doing…and those conquests that people are talking about? You know they talk about oh yes Christians and Jews were allowed to practice their religions. They weren’t. It was convert or die. Or pay a tax. So there’s a lot of things too that some of the information that has been conveyed to students is not exactly correct presented in a present day context or historical And I do think this is a good start so thank you for taking the initiative on this, Beth.”