Textbook Inaccuracies


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jeffb
November 19, 2004, 08:44 AM
I'm very much a "lurker." Especially on firearm related forums, as I am relatively new to the world of shooting and thus relegated to more of a listen and learn role. I typically don't post unless I have something interesting or constructive to contribute. I think this qualifies. So, my first post...

Ever since I've become aware of the assault weapons ban and the incredible proliferation of misinformation throughout the media, inaccuracies in general, even the most trivial and inconsequential have come to agitate me to no end. Perhaps the most annoying and potentially detrimental to society and our rights as the minority is the misinformation in text books used in our schools to educate our children. I've read a couple of threads on this subject and have considered purchasing some recently published books discussing this; however, I guess you can say that I just "haven't gotten around to it."

Moving on, I understand and accept the fact that bias will always exist. Frankly, for as long as I've been paying attention to bias and misinformation (which really hasn't been all that long), I've been relatively pleased with the content of the textbooks I've been exposed to. Last night, however, I read something in my Freshman American History textbook that struck a nerve. In reference to the Columbine shooting, the book states the following: "Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold used automatic weapons to slaughter twelve fellow students and a teacher in the worst incident of school violence in American history."

A statement like this in the news media would come as no surprise and would likely be met with a sigh and a brief "the world is going to hell" thought. In a textbook, on the other hand, the fallacious nature of this statement has compelled me to share with all of you.

Initially I only noticed the "automatic weapons" inaccuracy (if you're unsure, do a search on google for verification). However, as I typed the quote out verbatim from the text, I noticed another. The Bath, Michigan incident in 1927 came to mind. While the circumstances varied quite a bit and this inaccuracy is perhaps a bit more trivial than the first (although, the 106 victims would probably beg to differ), in terms of loss of life, this is hands down, without a doubt the worst and most horrific instance of school violence in American History. (see: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/history/bath/index_1.html?sect=1)

At this stage, I understand that there's probably nothing I can do. At very least this post will allow me to vent a little. Any others have experience with this? Comments are welcome.


P.s. For those interested, the textbook is the Second Edition of "The American Story" or "The American Story, Volume II: Since 1865."

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duckslayer
November 19, 2004, 09:48 AM
Welcome to the club. I'm still a relative newbie myself in terms of post count. I lurked around quite a while before posting my first words as well. The text book inaccuracies are not surprising. There is however, a group down in Austin that reads every book the Texas BOE considers for the public schools (high school level, I don't think college books apply) and gives reports on the factual inaccuracies. I will try to remember their website, as I have forgotten it as of this moment. Perhaps someone else knows what I am talking about. Or maybe I am crazy and none of this exists...but I'll try to find it anyway.

duckslayer
November 19, 2004, 09:56 AM
Hey, how about that...I'm not totally crazy.

Texas Textbook Review (http://www.constitution.org/reform/us/tx/textbook/textbook.htm)

firearms_instructor
November 19, 2004, 11:39 AM
P.s. For those interested, the textbook is the Second Edition of "The American Story" or "The American Story, Volume II: Since 1865."

How telling that a so-called textbook with factual inaccuracies is titled, "The American Story". It's a story, not fact. Gack.

SRYnidan
November 19, 2004, 02:35 PM
I have read the accounts of the bath incident and can only come up with 46 killings. Where are the other 60 from.

JPL
November 19, 2004, 02:46 PM
Firearms_instructor,

You're incorrectly assuming that the word "story" is the same as "fiction."

From dictionary.com:

Story:

An account or recital of an event or a series of events, either true or fictitious, as:

An account or report regarding the facts of an event or group of events:


And so forth.

Story is properly used in the title of the textbook.

Justin
November 19, 2004, 02:56 PM
It wouldn't be a bad idea to post some more info here, such as the company that published the book, along with their phone number, email, or at least a link to their website. ;)

Sindawe
November 19, 2004, 03:08 PM
Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong - James. W. Loewen

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; 1 Touchsto edition (September 3, 1996)
ISBN: 0684818868

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0684818868/qid=1100891051/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/002-2314277-4713658?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Hawkmoon
November 19, 2004, 03:39 PM
At this stage, I understand that there's probably nothing I can do. At very least this post will allow me to vent a little. Any others have experience with this? Comments are welcome.
It may fall on deaf ears, but you owe it to truth and posterity to at least complain in writing to

(a) The author(s)
(b) The publisher
(c) The chair of your history department

At that point you will have done what you can. Oh, possibly toss in a letter to the editor on the local and campus newspapers, too, but it's unlikely they'll print it. At least they'll know people are watching.

Brian Dale
November 19, 2004, 05:37 PM
Am I the first? Come on, gang! ;) Welcome to The High Road, jeffb! Yes, I see that you've been registered for several months, but now that you've posted, we all know that you're here.

You've started off with quite a discussion-provoking first post. I wish I had some pertinent historical facts to offer. The best I can do is this: when I was writing high school math workbooks, the publishers required that a lot of the story problems involve protagonists (if you will) whose names were drawn from many, many languages (half-and-half female and male, too, but no problem there). I used the names of about all of my friends and acquaintances from non-Anglo ethnic groups, every last one of my Japanese friends (including some nicknames), and I even made up some names from scratch. :evil:

That's not wrong, really, though a Martian visitor might guess wrong about the makeup of the population. What was more difficult than finding names was writing problems from which no one would be able to infer a slight to themselves.

"... in the worst incident of school violence in American history."{sarcasm} Well, if it happened before the 1960s, it doesn't really exist, right? At any rate, back then everyone was just barbaric anyway. This one's the "worst" because we're civilized now.{/sarcasm}

There's a lot more room for selective memory in history texts than in math, but the influences are present all over. Thanks for calling these people on their pretentious lack of historical perspective.

jeffb
November 19, 2004, 07:17 PM
I have read the accounts of the bath incident and can only come up with 46 killings. Where are the other 60 from.
From: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/history/bath/cries_5.html?sect=1 ...

A total of 38 children were killed, 7 teachers died and 61 others were severely injured.
"Severely injured" in a situation like this I took to mean as the individual likely didn't walk away from the incident with only a couple of scratches and bruises.

jeffb
November 19, 2004, 07:28 PM
More information on the book...

Title: "The American Story" Second Edition, same text I assume can also be found in "The American Story, Volume II: Since 1865" Second Edition
Authors: Robert A. Divine, T. H. Breen, George M. Fredrickson, R. Hal Williams, Ariela J. Gross, and H. W. Brands
Publisher: Penguin Academic and/or Pearson Longman
ISBN: 0-321-18313-4
Website: http://www.ablongman.com

Gordon Fink
November 19, 2004, 07:34 PM
The real question here is why did the text discuss the Columbine massacre at all? The incident said much more about the power of the mass media than it did about the state of gun control in the United States.

~G. Fink

Ryder
November 19, 2004, 07:45 PM
Don't see any reason why new books wouldn't reflect what passes for education these days. Look at all the grammar threads we have here. The dam broke a long time ago creating a flood of ignorance and you want to try swimming upstream? Good luck to you but I see this as an "every man for himself" issue. Somebody's got to survive!

Standing Wolf
November 19, 2004, 09:03 PM
Initially I only noticed the "automatic weapons" inaccuracy...

It's not an inaccuracy. It's a lie. Every time we refer to lies as "inaccuracies," we merely make it easier for liars to tell more—and larger—lies.

Tag
November 19, 2004, 09:41 PM
Well said Standing Wolf.

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