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items tagged with Schools

History, by the Book: James W. Loewen Talks About “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” April 15-17
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Literature

2009-04-09 16:16:57

James W. LoewenThe cliché says that history is written by the winners, but that's not true when it comes to history textbooks.

For the most part, they're not even written by the "authors" whose names grace the covers. Instead, they're written by employees of or freelancers for publishing companies deathly afraid of controversy -- fearful that a passage offensive to virtually any constituency will result in their books not being adopted in schools.

James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me -- first published in 1995, and revised and updated in 2007 -- documents how badly the most popular high-school textbooks teach American history. As part of the Quad City Arts Super Author program, Loewen will discuss his work at seven programs from April 15 to 17. (For a list of events, click here. To read about Chris Crutcher -- the other Super Author visiting our area next week -- see "Innocence, Ignorance, and Experience: Quad City Arts 'Super Author' Chris Crutcher Discusses His Controversial Young-Adult Literature.")

Loewen has also written Lies Across America (which tackles historic-site markers the same way he attacked history textbooks) and Sundown Towns, about communities with written or unwritten laws designed to keep them free of racial minorities. And he co-wrote a textbook on Mississippi history that gave him his first insight into the textbook-adoption process that avoids controversy at the expense of truth.

Accessible, passionate, detailed, and often startling, Lies My Teacher Told Me documents the errors, lies, and omissions that mar history textbooks -- opening with Helen Keller's ignored radicalism and expanding its scope from there, dealing extensively with society's treatment of Native Americans and blacks and also critiquing the presentation of more modern events, including the wars in Vietnam and Iraq.

Beyond the details that are wrong, the core narratives in these textbooks are problematic, Loewen said in a phone interview last week. He said history textbooks suggest "unrelenting, automatic progress," the idea that "we started out great and we've been getting better ever since."


Read More About History, By The Book: James W. Loewen Talks About “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” April 15-17...


A Question of Competitiveness: The Cases for and Against the Rock Island County Sales-Tax Referendum
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Local News

2009-03-26 14:21:43

If you paid attention to the Davenport Promise proposal, the arguments in favor of a 1-percent sales tax for school construction in Rock Island County will sound familiar: This is the way we can be competitive with surrounding areas; this is the way to attract and retain residents; this is what we need for the future workforce.

There are three key differences, however: The Rock Island County proposal - which is on the April 7 ballot - is easy to explain and grasp; the vote will be held in a Democratic and union stronghold; and it involves a new tax, rather than shifting an existing one.

The first two factors should work in favor of the referendum, and it will almost certainly get more support than the Promise, which only garnered 39 percent of the vote on March 3.

But the sour economy hasn't put voters in a giving mood. The Illinois General Assembly in 2007 allowed counties to seek a sales-tax increase for school construction; eight of 10 referenda have failed.

The leaders of the Rock Island County Kids First organization - the primary force pushing for the sales-tax increase - said they are concerned about the Promise results, but they also highlighted the differences.

 


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Davenport Must Improve Its Schools
Written By: Administrator
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Letters to the Editor

2009-02-26 20:06:39

I just wanted to provide an insight from a family that left Davenport because of the schools. I grew up in Bettendorf, moved to Davenport, and after having children moved them to Geneseo, as I refused to put them in the Davenport school system. As a parent, I would not subject my children to 13 years in that school system to earn money for college. Not only is the crime rate in that school system high, but the schools do not adequately prepare the kids for college.


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Not Supporting Rock Island School Referendum
Written By: Administrator
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Letters to the Editor

2008-01-30 08:20:42

I'm a big fan of Rock Island/Milan School District #41. Now and in the past it has provided quality education for the community, my children included, and leads the Quad Cities in any number of educational areas.

But I cannot support the February 5 referendum to restructure the district's schools.


Read More About Not Supporting Rock Island School Referendum...





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