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Textbooks, Part 3: Check out the “experts”

Updated: May 24, 2021

A couple handfuls of textbook activists have successfully changed state law to make sure that non-educators have a greater say on textbooks at both the local and state level.


 Several WCS board members are quite connected to these activists. Both Candy Emerson and Beth Burgos said they ran because of the textbook issue.

  1. Now, some school board members are indicating they want to be ON the local review committee and also approve the work of the committee.

  2. At least one board member has indicated she wants to be able to determine specifically who isn’t on the committee.

  3. Several also seem to be looking for an official role for the textbook activists. The board will talk more about this at the 11/17 School Board Meeting when they plan to vote on how the local review committees will be formed.

So who are these leading textbook activists (who will likely be called “experts who just want the truth”)?

Laurie Cardoza-Moore: Ms. Moore has her own organization called Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. She was featured on a Daily Show segment about the anti-Muslim activists who fought against the Murfreesboro mosque. (See here.) Note that the mosque has existed peacefully in Murfreesboro for thirty years.

LCM: “Islam is a political system of global domination… 30%, based on the numbers that were done, are terrorists…..We know we have a huge terrorist network here in Tennessee. The Nashville Islamic Center appears to be the mothership.” Host (joking): “You know about the mothership?” LCM: “Everybody knows about the Mothership.” Host: (joking, again) “How do you know so much?” LCM: “Internet. All you have to do, I mean, google and you can find out anything.”

Julie West: West has a compendium of horrifying things to say about WCS and the indoctrination (Muslim, socialist, etc.) occurring within the school system and has been on an anti-Mike Looney campaign for a long time. She is the founder of a group called Parents for Truth in Education. [Note: Is their logo really a burning book?] West’s acumen at textual analysis has led her to note that Williamson Strong’s free clipart logo is similar to one used by a group that held a seminar on Common Core for American Schools in Dubai. West: “If Williamson Strong is local and parent-led why is their logo included among the international organizations sponsoring this event?” The same clipart is also used by the Toronto Divorce/Separation Support Group and a HR Department in Millville, NJ. Given her skills at discernment, we await her additional analysis of how they are connected as well.

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Barb Sturgeon: District 8 County Commissioner for Williamson County. At the Let’s Talk School event at Fairview High School, Ms. Sturgeon said about half of the comments from the textbook activists were “valid.” (We would put the error rate much much higher than that, but it is still interesting to note that one of the textbook activists herself said that half of what her crew has to say is not valid.) Ms. Sturgeon said there is too much about Islam and not enough about Christianity–including Jesus’ divinity–in the Social Studies curriculum.

Jackie Archer: Archer is a 912 member. She and Lisa Moore (below) started the anti-Muslim group ACT! in Murfreesboro. Regarding teachers, Archer says: “The majority of the current crop of teachers and administrators are already subjects (victims) of the systematic indoctrination that has been inflicted on our education system for decades. Therefore, they do not recognize the deception and are powerless to offer corrections or other perspectives.” Teachers’ judgment, in other words, cannot be trusted.

Claudia Henneberry: Ms. Henneberry is a retired Social Studies teacher and a 912 member. She found uses of the term “white” Americans (in the textbooks) objectionable. For example: “We have a lot of the word ‘white’ used. ‘White people pushed the Indians off their land’’… “The implication here is that the whites were not truly American, that only natives were American.” Back in August, Ms. Henneberry also wrote a letter to the editor asking if the Franklin band boosters were “tools of a larger political entity” for urging people to vote in the school board election.

Hal Rounds: We covered this in Textbooks, Part 2, but Mr. Rounds was behind the Tea Party demands that the state pass a law to ensure that schools in Tennessee not in any way make the founding fathers look bad in relation to owning slaves or their treatment of Native Americans. Rounds added: “White people were whipped too.” In the textbook “study” the activists did, Rounds was by far the most prolific reviewer. Among his comments were that the slave ships were not as bad as they looked in the illustrations, women’s rights were protected through their husbands, and slaves’ rights were protected through their owners.

Lisa Moore: Moore is on the Rutherford County school board and is a founding member of ACT! in Murfreesboro. A fellow ACT! group reports that Moore “has been on the front lines in Murfreesboro in the battle against Islam.” Moore was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the mosque.

Let’s be clear: these textbook activists are not subject matter experts nor are they educators. They are not weighing evidence and searching for balance and facts. They are political activists. People with hard-core ideologies (of any kind) tend to see exactly what they are looking for, and these activists are no exception. Here’s hoping the school board members–even those who have worked with this crew in the past–don’t fall for it.

We predict the board will try to find ways to control which parents and teachers get to sit on the local review committees. We also predict they’ll look for ways to get these and similar activists on the review committees or otherwise engaged in textbook review. We hope we are wrong.

For introductory information on textbook review and adoption, see Textbooks, Part 1: Nuts and Bolts.

See Textbooks, Part 2: Islam, Socialism, and Pornography for examples of the activists’ textbook review comments.


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