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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive

Give me the lesson without the spin

But now, in my senior year, I am back in the midst of it. In one of my classes, we use the 10th edition of “American Government” by James Q. Wilson, a well-known conservative academic, and John J. DiIulio, a political scientist and former head of President Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. (2005). The text contains a statement, repeated three times, that students may not pray in public schools. In this edition of the text, the authors drive the point home with a photograph of students holding hands and praying outside a school. The caption reads: “The Supreme Court will not let this happen inside a public school.”

What’s funny is that this is the same textbook I have at the university level. The difference is, I suppose, the instructor. My professor doesn’t follow the book very strictly, whereas I’m betting (like most) highschool teachers do. She was quick to set it straight about what the difference between personal actions and state-sponsored actions are, the differences between secular actions and religious-promoting actions are. She also made sure to let us know about its conservative bent the very first day.

No textbook should ever be read straight-through and taken to heart; the instructor/professor/teacher is there for a reason, and they should be doing their job. Letting the textbook teach the class is like letting a television raise children.

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