Ronald L. Morrison said he noticed the discrepancy while reviewing myWorld History in advance of this week’s board vote on the book. The seventh-grade text published by Pearson is one of nine new books administrators recommended for use in 2012-13.
Morrison said the book also includes information about Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism, but covered Islam more thoroughly than other faiths.
“The book, as a whole, has great information in it from cover to cover. However, I didn’t see the equality and that’s the point I’m bringing out,” he said. “I’m very interested in making sure our students are given a very good education and that it’s balanced.”
Morrison proposed delaying the book’s approval so district staff could revisit the book and, perhaps, choose an alternative text. Other school directors said they didn’t think that was necessary and the board voted 7-1 to approve all nine texts, with Morrison dissenting.
Superintendent Mary Anne Wright said administrators and teachers vetted the books this spring so they’d be ready for board approval in July and August. It’s too late in the process to select different texts, she said.
If school directors want to play a bigger role in choosing textbooks, they should consider revising the process, the superintendent said. She told Morrison, “Traditionally, I don’t have the level of involvement you’re asking for.”
School director Camille S. Bartlett said the district staffs professional educators to review books and she trusts they’ve done their jobs with this latest batch of texts. Requiring that school directors review books is a step toward micromanagement she’s doesn’t want to take, Bartlett said.
School director Williard G. Dellicker said the district’s curriculum dictates which books are used, not the other way around. Northwestern Lehigh Director of Curriculum & Technology LeAnn Stitzel agreed, noting that myWorld History supplements the seventh-grade social studies curriculum and is unlikely to be taught cover to cover.
“We do have written documentation as to why this book was chosen instead of the others,” said Stitzel, who is in charge of the district’s textbook selections. She offered to share the documentation with Morrison.
School director Christopher Ford did not attend the recent board meeting.