A Pennsylvania school board recently voted to do without a textbook’s left-wing “indoctrination” on climate change and globalization, though students are still free to pursue the materials through independent study.
The West York Area school board voted 5-4 at its May 19 meeting to shelve the Pearson text “Rubestein: The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography,” which was set for use in the district’s advanced placement human geography course, the York Dispatch reports.
“I believe this falls into the indoctrination category of publishing a particular political belief,” board member Lynn Kohler said.
Kohler pointed to the highly political focus on climate change and distribution of wealth and resources in the text that make “it sound like countries like America are bad,” and seemingly promotes an anti-capitalist perspective of environmentalism.
Four out of nine of his fellow board members agreed, while the minority argued science is on their side.
Board member Donald Carl, who teaches a similar course in Central York schools, and board member Douglas Hoover, a history teacher in Dover Area schools, argued the text is the only option that aligns with the advanced placement geography curriculum.
“While it’s OK for all of us to have different opinions, there really is only one set of facts,” Carl said.
Hoover recalled a 2005 trial that resulted from the Dover school board including intelligent design in the science curriculum, and urged his colleagues in West York not to get “heavily involved” in those decisions, according to the Dispatch.
“It really doesn’t end well,” he said.
Climate change has remained a hot-button issue with school curriculums across the country in recent years, do doubt fueled by the nation’s partisan political environment. In Idaho, lawmakers last year failed to renew 8,000 pages of rules and regulations to reignite debate over education standards, in large part the curriculum treats climate change as settled science, FRONTLINE reports.
In Arizona, lawmakers attempted to remove mention of climate change in science standards, while legislators in Alabama and Indiana worked to protect science teachers who offered different positions on the issue.
In West York, some board members attempted to postpone approval of the geography text to create time for review, but were outvoted. Instead, the board voted to remove it altogether with plans to review other textbooks approved earlier this year in more detail, the Dispatch reports.
West York Superintendent Todd Davies complained that without the text it’s unlikely the district will offer the advanced placement course, which will disappoint students, but vowed to meet with Principal Carrie Jones to discuss alternatives.
In the meantime, board member George Margetas said, the board should consider reviewing other materials promoted through the national Common Core standards, as well.