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Hi Amanda and others,

According to Diane Ravitch's recent comments on the NPR program "Fresh
Air," this is self-imposed censorship caused primarily by state-wide
adoption of textbooks in Texas (conservative) and California (liberal),
and the result of 80% of the textbook market being dominated by 4
publishers (only one of which is a US owned company). The right doesn't
want witches and evolution; the left won't accept depictions of women in
traditional roles or minorities treated in any fashion that might be
construed as stereotypical, etc. I have little reason to believe Ravitch
has a traditional political agenda in her research since she worked
under both George B the first and Clinton.

One humorous moment on the show came after Ravitch suggested dullness
and unreadability in textbooks was a result of these "word police"
actions that got rolling in the 80's and 90's to which Terry Gross, the
show's host, replied that she went to school in the 60's and textbook
were dull then.

All this made me think of just how good library collections with items
of high interest, different points of view, and engaging writing styles
are the true antidotes to dumbed-down, plain vanilla, and incomplete
textbooks. Pity the child without access to good libraries.

Ketchup must have been banned by the left since the Republicans under
Regan made it officially a vegetable! I think it is also Minnesota's
state condiment!

All the best,

Doug Johnson
Director of Media and Technology
I.S.D. 77, Mankato Public Schools
Box 8713, Mankato MN 56002-8713
Voice: 507-387-7698, Fax: 507-387-2496

"The fates guide those who go willingly; those who do not, they drag."

The News Report at:

discusses "Banned from US textbooks: owls, ketchup, dinosaurs and old
ladies with cats ...."

It would be really great if someone could confirm that this is just
media hype, and not fact ...

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