This article was published in the "Editor's File"
in The Textbook Letter, September-October 1999.
Consider, for example, the nineteen books in the Prentice Hall Science series, which were issued and reissued in versions dated in 1993, 1994 and 1997. The teacher's editions of all the Prentice Hall Science books contained pedagogic items marked with the headline "Multicultural Opportunity," and some of those items did indeed subject teachers to doses of multi-culti pseudoscience or pseudohistory -- but the rest had no relation at all to multi-culti. In typical cases, they said that teachers should direct students to read electric meters, to list examples of kinetic energy, to fashion a plastic model of a magnet, to find examples of soil erosion, or to list examples of thermal expansion. Prentice Hall's writers did not even pretend to suggest how such undertakings might be related to multi-culti, and it was obvious that those "Multicultural Opportunity" items had been contrived for only one purpose: They provided opportunities for Prentice Hall to print the word Multicultural in big type and to dazzle all the fad-crazed suckers who wouldn't bother to read beyond the headline.
Prentice Hall is now a division of Pearson Education, but the multi-culti shenanigans continue unabated. Pearson Education is showing the suckers no mercy.
I've been reading the 1999 version of Prentice Hall Exploring Physical Science, which Pearson Education sells as a middle-school book, and I've noticed that the teacher's edition contains various "Multicultural Strategy" notes which are just as phony as the absurd "Multicultural Opportunity" items in the Prentice Hall Science volumes. Typical "Multicultural Strategy" notes in Prentice Hall Exploring Physical Science tell the teacher that students should blow a large soap bubble into a plastic bag so that they can "observe constructive and destructive interference," or they should survey their homes to find examples of acids and bases, or they should "build models of elements that can combine by ionic bonds" -- but again, there's not a word to suggest how such activities may be related to multi-culti or how the activities may be useful in promoting racism, Victimism, anti-intellectualism or the other -isms which figure in multi-culti ideology.
The 1999 Prentice Hall Exploring Physical Science has various other items to attract and dazzle gullible customers. It contains, for example, Prentice Hall's usual splurge of erroneous material about the Bernoulli effect, complete with "Attack of the Shower Curtain" -- a specious article which Prentice Hall has been printing and reprinting for years. (See "Fun in the Tub," by Howard P. Lyon, in TTL for July-August 1998.) This material is augmented by a full-page illustrated article, headlined "Connections," in which Prentice Hall's writers convey some wrong notions about airplane wings, then pretend to explain bird wings (in just two inane sentences!), and then purport to tell -- with the help of two pictures -- how a "spoiler on the back of a racing car" functions. Their explanation of the spoiler is bogus, and the two pictures contradict each other.
Although the "Connections" article is full of nonsense, Pearson Education has recently reprinted it (with an altered title) in Motion, Forces, and Energy -- one of the fifteen books, dated in 2000, that constitute the Prentice Hall Science Explorer series. As I've said, Pearson is showing the suckers no mercy.
William J. Bennetta is a professional editor, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the president of The Textbook League, and the editor of The Textbook Letter. He writes frequently about the propagation of quackery, false "science" and false "history" in schoolbooks.
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