After Activists Rail Against Tenn History Books, No One Else Comes To Read Them

It's the orange one. "The Cultural Landscape" has been updated since Williamson County parents complained about what they saw as an anti-semitic line. On a broader level, the same activists are working to change history books used in Tennessee. They think textbooks should have a more pro-American view. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

It’s the orange one. “The Cultural Landscape” has been updated since Williamson County parents complained about what they saw as an anti-semitic line. On a broader level, the same activists are working to change history books used in Tennessee. They think textbooks should have a more pro-American view. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Not one Williamson County parent has gone to review history textbooks that have been described by conservative activists as riddled with bias. School officials say it may be a sign that controversy is dying down.

Since mid-January, two people have shown up at the school district’s professional development building to take a look at stacks and stacks of social studies books. Both are reporters.

“It’s sorta crickets in here, isn’t it,” says assistant superintendent Tim Gaddis, surrounded by tables stacked with all of the social studies books up for consideration.

After nearly 300 parents signed a petition complaining about an AP geography book published by Pearson, Gaddis says he expected there would be wider interest in reading it.

“We’re a little surprised,” he says.

The flashpoint line in “The Cultural Landscape” suggested that terrorism on the West Bank could be viewed as a wartime act by those committing the violence. Pearson ultimately dropped the paragraph altogether after complaints of anti-semitism:

“Competing arguments are made. Israel’s sympathizers denounce the act as a terrorist threat to the country’s existence, whereas advocates of the Palestinian cause argue that long-standing injustices and Israeli army attacks on ordinary Palestinian civilians provoked the act.”

But Williamson County mother Laurie Cardoza-Moore, who has appeared on Fox News to talk about the issue, says the problems go much deeper than a few sentences. She sees what she calls an “anti-West, anti-United States, international bias” in every social studies book authorized for use Tennessee classrooms.

“When you have a textbook that is published that is blatantly anti-white, are you kidding me?” Cardoza-Moore quips. “These Pearson textbooks are not my Pearson textbooks that I grew up with. They are loaded with bias and factually inaccurate information.”

Cardoza-Moore and a team of conservative activists had already looked over the history books. They are permanently displayed at Tennessee State University and MTSU. She figures other parents haven’t shown up in Williamson County because the school district hasn’t done enough to promote the events.

A final session to review and make comments on Williamson County social studies books will be Tuesday evening from 3:30-7:00. Students would begin using the textbooks this fall.

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