Tennessee Textbook Commission Hears Complaint Over Islam Curriculum | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee Textbook Commission Hears Complaint Over Islam Curriculum

Sep 18, 2015

The latest controversy over what Tennessee schoolchildren are taught about Islam reached the state's Textbook Commission Friday. In recent weeks, parents and legislators have pushed to change the curriculum.

Susan Curlee, a Williamson County school board member, told the commission that she was outraged over what her daughter learned last year in seventh-grade world history.

The materials seemed to deemphasize violence by early Muslims, she said.

"Some of the things that these children were asked to do during the year and some of the assignments, absolutely conflicted with what they were even seeing on social media and on the evening news," she said.

Curlee said her daughter was reprimanded for an essay on the everyday lives of Muslims. She wrote about public executions and Aisha, an important figure in early Islam who is believed by many to have married Muhammad as a child.

Craig Hammond, the textbook commission's outgoing chairman and a middle-school principal, defended the standards and said they should be taught objectively.

"This sounds like a really bad mishandling of a situation," he said.

The commission took no action on Curlee's complaint. The State Board of Education has already agreed to hold a public review of the social studies guidelines in January.