Since Common Core educational standards have taken root across the country, many activists and journalists have sounded the alarm about the increasing corporatization of our educational system.
Parents are increasingly on the lookout for biased information in their children’s textbooks, and one of the biggest examples was discovered in the form of blatantly biased, pro-GMO propaganda in a sixth-grade textbook distributed across the country.
But now, the company behind it is vowing to make a change after the voices of concerned parents and activists forced them to act.
The textbook in question, ‘Science: A Closer Look (below),’ was originally published in 2008 before Common Core standards were introduced, but it is part of the nationwide program.
And now the publisher, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, considered to be the largest educational publisher in the U.S., has said it will change the controversial section on GMO crops that parents objected to, in the form of scores of emails and phone calls.
Textbook Publisher Releases Statement
“After re-evaluating the program’s presentation of genetically engineered crops, we acknowledge that it did not effectively present a robust discussion about the diversity of research on the topic,” reads a statement by the publisher that was provided to Yahoo! Parenting. It refers to the sixth-grade book ‘Science: A Closer Look,’ originally published in 2008.
“We expect to include updates to this material in future releases of the program.”
According to this article from Yahoo! Parenting, the publisher did not know how many school districts across the country use the book, and said it did not know if it had been updated since 2008. A spokesperson also told Yahoo! that he was “well aware” of the scores of phone calls in protest that had been coming in to the company.
A message to McGraw-Hill (by AltHealthWORKS) seeking comment on what type of changes could be expected and when they would be implemented was not returned.
GMOs “Have More Nutrients?”
The textbook in question featured the following statements, which read like a list of Biotech industry talking points.
Genetically modified crops “can produce more food,” “have more nutrients,” “fight disease and insects,” and “need fewer chemical pesticides.” the book said.
The section was brought to light by Missouri parent Dawn Jordan, whose niece showed her the section in question.
“When my niece sent me her homework, I noticed her teacher wrote ‘no bugs, more food,’ as a suggestion to her about what to write about…which disgusts me that a teacher in a public school system has no knowledge whatsoever on the actual truth about GMOs and is merely doing what she is told, without proper research first,” she said, noting that the teacher had gone along with the one-sided narrative.
The McGraw-Hill case is the second of its kind recently that ended with a textbook company vowing to correct completely biased pro-GMO language.
In September 2013, William E. Evans, CEO of Evan-Moor, vowed to correct a children’s exercise that included the “pros and cons” of GMO food but listed no actual cons.
“We do not allow GMO foods in our home, and we would certainly never do anything to promote them in our publications,” he said.
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