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Capo School Board Rejects 'Too Liberal' History Book

Officials say the AP World History text promotes Marxism and ignores conservative figures. The publisher disagrees, and says it's one of the most widely used history texts in America.

Former Bush Administration education official Bill Evers listens to the Capistrano Unified school board debate the an AP World History textbook. June 12, 2013. Patch photo by: Penny Arévalo
Former Bush Administration education official Bill Evers listens to the Capistrano Unified school board debate the an AP World History textbook. June 12, 2013. Patch photo by: Penny Arévalo

ORANGE COUNTY, CA -- The latest edition of a popular world history book leans too far to the left, the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously decided Wednesday.

Previously, a panel that reviews textbooks for the district narrowly recommended approving the 6th edition of World Civilizations: The Global Experience for use in AP World History classes.

“The bias was so overwhelming,” said Trustee Ellen Addonizio, who also sits on the review committee. She called the discussion one of the most fascinating the panel has ever had. 

“Showing both sides is important. ... I would like us to find a stronger book for our students,” she said.

After Wednesday's vote, the book's lead author, Peter Stearns, gave a statement to Patch:

We have attempted to craft the book in a balanced fashion. It is a world history, which means that coverage does not center on the United States or just on U.S.-defined interests. We designate a number of modern political movements and changes for attention, including for example communism but also the fall of communism, the rise of conservative movements in several major countries in the 1980s, and so on. Again, no partisan agenda defined our coverage or our manner of presentation.

At Wednesday's school board meeting, textbook review panel member Bill Evers, a former assistant secretary of education under President George W. Bush and the husband of Trustee Anna Bryson, leveled a number of complaints about the book.

Chief among them, the book plays up Marxist ideas while downplaying classical liberalism, said Evers, a current fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

He also bashed the book for omitting a long list of historical figures, including John Stuart MillKhayr al-Din al-TunisiFriedrich August Hayek, Edmund Burke, William Ewart Gladstone, Benjamin Constant, Alexis de Tocqueville and Milton Friedman. And he said it inaccurately portrays the Russian invasion of Poland, global warming and the current political standing of South Korea.

Evers’ wife – who does not always agree with her husband on educational matters (see this article on the Common Core standards) – also slammed the book.

“Some of the things Dr. Evers mentioned are exceedingly troubling to me,” Bryson said, citing the omission of Friedman and like-minded free-market economists. She said if more students studied conservative economists, perhaps California wouldn’t be in bad financial shape.

Bryson is running for state Assembly in 2014.

Because the latest edition of the book was rejected, a new AP World History class at Dana Hills High School will have to use the previously approved 5th edition. Although much of the content is similar, Trustee Jim Reardon, who is also on textbook review committee, said it’s better than the 6th.

“It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever tried to read. The text is sludge,” Reardon said.

Responding to the controversy, Kate Miller, a spokeswoman for the book's publisher, said World Civilizations is one of the most widely used AP high school and college history texts in America.

“The authors are renowned experts in their fields,” she said.

Capo mom June 22, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Give that man a Kewpie doll. Godwin's law proven again. I think it may be a wee bit of hyperbole to compare the rejection of a textbook to the killing of about 14 million people, but then I am a conservative.
Mia June 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Slam, bam! Thank you Ma'm.
Dan Avery June 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Capo Mom, clearly I was not comparing the rejection of the text book to anything. I was merely pointing out the troglodyte views of Jeff. And then moved on to his proclamation that the left is "godless." And then I mentioned that both Hitler and Mussolini who were members of the right were also Christian and believed in "God." Entirely different subject. Let's try to read a bit more carefully. I haven't seen the textbook, but if Jim Reardon's assessment of it is accurate then it shouldn't have been adopted. But his assessment was based on rational criteria such as cost and the lack of substantive changes, rather than some perceived political nonsense.
Dan Avery June 22, 2013 at 12:53 PM
In other words, Capo Mom, anyone who believes the left is "godless" or even Godless, i.e., people on the left don't believe in God, or a Higher Power, or got to church et.al. is a brain dead tool of the Koch Brothers. In sort, they are a moron.
Capo mom June 22, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Sorry Dan, my bad. I have a hard time keeping up with the ad hominem. Perhaps you could get Penny to write an article about troglodyte brain dead moron tools of the Koch Brothers so your commentary could be relevant. On second thought, even in that light, comparing someone with whom you disagree to those responsible for the deaths of 14 million people would still be hyperbole.
Jeff June 22, 2013 at 10:16 PM
I'm hurt. I'm also tired of the left that supports abortion but dosent support capital punishment of murderers. You idiots just don't get it. I don't actually believe in god but I do know that believeing you are accountable to a higher power tends to keep deviant behavior at bay. Much like the crap the left embraces.
Dan Avery June 23, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Well Capo Mom, once again you should read more closely. I didn't compare Jeff to Hitler did I? No. What I said was that I didn't understand the notion of a "godless" left. But then what I implied by my Hitler and Mussolini comment is that if God is on the side of the right and Hitler and Mussolini were members of the right, why would the left want anything to do with God. Do I need to get out the puppets or will you stop willfully misreading me. See there, I was being kind. I'm actually convinced you're not bright enough to read what I actually wrote and comprehend it and I've been using these comments to suggest as much. Now if you had "gotten" that I doubt you'd keep doubling down, but, well, one never knows, you might just think you're clever. And if you'd put an actual idea out there, I wouldn't be trapped in an ad hom argument. So it goes.
Dan Avery June 23, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Jeff, So I am to believe that you don't support capital punishment? I don't either, but then I'm not in favor of anyone seeking an abortion either. Life is life. However I am in favor of giving women the right to decide how to run their own bodies. Men have that right. Without that right women are not equal. I grew up thinking that our country stood for equality and freedom. Am I wrong about thinking that? So you don't want women to have equality? How about gays? Can they get married in your vision of America, Jeff? Or is marriage restricted to a person who has an innie and a person who has an outie? And, Jeff, if you don't actually believe in God then why do you condemn the left for being Godless? Isn't that, like, hypocritical, dude?
Dan Avery June 23, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Oh and "Capo Mom" I find it interesting you attack me rather than Jeff and Mike T for their misogynistic views. But then I've been on the internet for a little over 20 years now and not "women" are actually women. And not all women actually know when they are being marginalized and dissed.
nobody June 23, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Are all conservatives so angry?
Capo mom June 23, 2013 at 02:46 AM
I am attacking you simply by pointing out the logical fallacy in your comments, Dan? Boo woo! It's not like I called you a troglodyte, a tool or a moron. But I guess not all "men" on the internet are actually men. And if you've been on the interwebs "for a little more than 20 years now" that means you were probably around when Al Gore got the whole thing started, right? Wow that is really ...well ... something. I don't share all of Mike T or Jeff's views but I don't find disagreement threatening, it's not nearly as dangerous as ignorance and stupidity. So you sure put me in my place, hahahaha. I'll just peel off my shoes and head for the kitchen now.
Dan Avery June 23, 2013 at 02:30 PM
I see you can admit when you're wrong Capo Mom. You didn't read my comment correctly in the least. 20 years ago the internet was restricted to government and academia. And, yes, as a college professor I was on it, used Usenet regularly, and had email. There wasn't a world wide web yet. Want to double down again? By the way read my comment again. I didn't call anyone a troglodyte I used that word to describe his ideas. That's called an adjective and not a noun. So it's not a logical fallacy. I know that because I taught writing and argumentation for 18 years at the college level, but you're welcome to double down on that as well. "C" students do that sort of thing all the time. But for the record, argumentation and discussion is about "attacking" ideas, especially the ones which are morally repugnant, shallow, stupid, or moronic. Notice how I didn't call anyone that. The closest I came to what would actually be an ad hominem argument was "And if you'd put an actual idea out there, I wouldn't be trapped in an ad hom argument." Which is really just a statement of fact and not an ad hom argument because, well it's just stating you need to start dealing with actually ideas rather than blinding attacking me out of anger. Now let's talk tone. Mine has been that of an educated, thoughful person whose patience is wearing thin. And yes I know how that must sound to you. Your tone, on the other hand, has been that of thrashing out blindly from anger. That's why I keep engaging you. So that more people realize what nobody asked about conservatives. So let's go Capo Mom. Double down. I know you want to and I know you will.
Dan Avery June 23, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Correction: 20 years ago in 1993 there was a world wide web, so I've been on the internet much longer than 20 years ago. Math was never my strong suit. 20 years ago I was fooling around with video conferencing on the net by playing with a program called CuSeeMe. Capo Mom's statement about me and Al Gore is curious on many levels. But it does point to a tendency of a certain portion of U.S. Citizens who believe they are always the first to experience something because they signed up for that something when they first heard about it. In fact, the internet was a cold war weapon that was built in the 1970's. A similar example of Capo Mom's statement is our notion that the U.S. didn't have a drug problem until the late 60's or early 70's. That is when white suburban kids started to do drugs. The United States has had a drug problem since the very early days of the 20th century.
Jeff June 23, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Dan I'm a godless pro environment, pro death penalty, pro abortion (and don't sugarcoat it by calling it choice) pro gay marriage ( cuz why should straight people be the only ones to suffer)close the borders stop obamacare free market capitalst no tax angry white conservaral republicrat that dosent like the direction this republic is headed.
nobody June 23, 2013 at 09:40 PM
I'm just trying to understand, are you a -'NO TAX'+angry+white+ conservaral+republicrat- (all of this), or a -'NO' tax angry white conservaral republicrat- (none of this)?
Capo mom June 23, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Dan, for such an educated and experienced "man", you are pretty touchy. Please read more carefully. You'll notice I never accused you of calling anyone a troglodyte or any name at all. And yet you claim you, not your ideas but you, are under attack, another favored device of the passive agressive left. If one looks bad in an argument, it isn't because one's argument is flawed. It must be that the opponent is a bully. If, indeed, it took you 18 years in academia to achieve your current level of logical sophistication, it explains much about the shortcomings of our educational system. BTW, I graduated from high school in the mid 80's. We were playing around with the ARPAnet through an NSF program, CYCLADES (in French class) and other packet switching networks. Shocking isn't it for mere high school girls to have had casual access to the tools of enlightened academics. 30 years ago these things, while certainly not in every household, weren't as restricted as you seem to recall. With all your vast knowledge and experience, I'm curious how you seem to have missed that emotional interpretation of conversational tone on the internet is difficult, if not impossible, to determine with any accuracy. In the absence of nonverbal input on the web, the opportunity for error in judgement is pretty large. Those who attempt to assign a tone to conversations online are usually just engaging in projection. Google it, there is a lot of academic research on the topic. For the record, far from being angry, I'm having a really good laugh. Your turn ;)
Jeff June 23, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Nobody: lm "All of this" but wait, that's not all. I've been pondering this. Democrats generally support abortion correct? So most abortions would logically be on Democrats. If children tend to vote along the lines of their parents, then can't it be said that democrats are aborting their own voteing base. And if abortion were illegal wouldn't the Democrats have far more voters than the pubs by now? Just wondering
nobody June 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Jeff... what are you smoking? :)
Jeff June 23, 2013 at 10:25 PM
legit Question. Come on nobody, are you too narrow to think about it? Expand yourself and answer the question.
Jeff June 23, 2013 at 10:26 PM
:)
Jeff June 23, 2013 at 10:39 PM
All in good fun
nobody June 23, 2013 at 10:46 PM
You mean my own question? I don't know what you are smoking. :)
nobody June 23, 2013 at 10:52 PM
But I'm jealous
Capo mom June 23, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Dan, for such an educated and experienced "man", you are pretty touchy. Please read more carefully. You'll notice I never accused you of calling anyone a troglodyte or any name at all. And yet you claim you, not your ideas but you, are under attack, another favored device of the passive agressive left. If one looks bad n an argument, it isn't because one's argument is flawed. It must be that the opponent is a bully. If, indeed, it took you 18 years in academia to achieve your current level of logical sophistication, it explains much about the shortcomings of our educational system. BTW, I graduated from high school in the mid 80's. We were playing around with the ARPAnet through an NSF program, CYCLADES (in French class) and other packet switching networks. Shocking isn't it for high school girls to have had casual access to the tools of enlightened academics. 30 years ago these things, while certainly not in every household, weren't as restricted as you seem to recall. With all your vast knowledge and experience, I'm curious how you seem to have missed that emotional interpretation of conversational tone on the internet is difficult, if not impossible, to determine with any accuracy. In the absence of nonverbal input on the web, the opportunity for error in judgement is pretty large. Those who attempt to assign a tone to conversations online are usually just engaging in projection. Google it, there is a lot of academic research on the topic. For the record, far from being angry, I'm having a really good laugh. Your turn ;)
Dan Avery June 24, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Jeff, I'd say that is pretty accurate, but the pro-gay marriage is surprising, but then that's my own bigotry showing. My bad. Good for you on knowing yourself and on the gay marriage thing.
Dan Avery June 24, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Capo Mom, Wish I could say the same thing to you that I just said to Jeff. Here's where you did imply that I called someone a troglodyte, moron, and the rest. "I am attacking you simply by pointing out the logical fallacy in your comments, Dan? Boo woo! It's not like I called you a troglodyte, a tool or a moron." No you didn't outright say it. But that's lame, given how I've shot down your argument at every step and rather then try to refute me, you pull the losing move of changing the argument in the next comment. For example, you take a cheap shot at me over an internet comment, and laugh at how the net wasn't around 20 years ago and how I must have helped Al Gore start it, and then when your incredible ignorance is pointed out you try to back peddle on how you were on the net in the 80's? You don't think you're kids read that and wonder just how stupid their mom really is? I'm serious.
Dan Avery June 24, 2013 at 03:16 AM
And by the way, Capo Mom, any English major can read a piece of writing and tell you what the tone was. It's not that hard. What you heard, this business about how you can't interpret the conversational tone on the internet, is the same thing when we say in a classroom that there are not stupid questions. Of course there are stupid questions. Scads and scads of them. And, of course, you can't tell what the tone is because you didn't study that, so we have to point out that to you. See what I am saying? But any English major can read any piece of writing and tell you the tone of it, because the tone is created by the words the writer picked. So you can tell us you're not angry, but your word choice tells us the truth. Sorry, just the way language works.
fact checker June 24, 2013 at 10:25 AM
Google academic research? Isn't that an oxymoron?
Dan Avery June 24, 2013 at 01:00 PM
fact checker...good one. Wikipedia is passing as a legitimate source these days, along with youtube. Two sites that anyone with a six pack of beer and a modem can "contribute" to as far as the "knowledge" base goes. I used to tell my students that 1/5 of the sources could come from the internet. The first essay required four sources so....anyone with internet sources failed and then they were angry at me because they couldn't do simple math.
shelly June 24, 2013 at 04:28 PM
From what I observe from my children in their AP classes their teachers have encouraged them to seek many additional resources besides the assigned text book. I think it is impossible to actually learn all of what is required in most of the AP courses by just reading the required text. And it really should be. Do you get your information from just one source? And do you seek out or believe only sources that fit your political leanings? Have the people rating this book actually read the whole book? Have they researched what is supposed to be taught and have they researched similar books and how the subject matter is presented? Or do they just read opinions on and critiques of the book? If they only read the opinion and critiques of the books then did they read the passages that they found to be "too liberal" in context? Who is judging the extent of liberal or conservative thought in these books and how does their own political leanings affect their opinion? But really if there is no clear, significant new information in newer editions of any of our current texts then save the money and use some of the money to rebind the older books. And encourage your children and students to do their part and to use book covers and treat their books with more care to save the wear and tear on the current text books.

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