Sep 26 2016
[UPDATED We won!] Tennessee Public Middle Schools no longer will indoctrinate students with Islam and force non-Muslim students to praise “Allah as the only god”
BREAKING! Draft of Tennessee Social Studies standard eliminates references to Islam! A draft proposal for social studies teaching standards in Tennessee schools eliminates most of the current standards’ references to Islam, reports the Kingsport Times-News.
KnoxBlogs In seventh grade, where studies of Islam are concentrated in current standards, the whole section of “Islamic World, 400 A.D./C.E. – 1500s” has been removed in the draft, which went online from the state Board of Education for public review and input Sept. 15. However, the draft standards… include in some form most of the current ones involving Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions.
(Note: You can begin looking at the draft HERE and there’s a spot for public comments.)
An appointed Standards Recommendation Committee will make the ultimate recommendation for new social studies standards to the SBE in early 2017. Implementation will take place in the 2019-20 school year. The 2018-19 school year will serve as a transition and training year for educators on the new standards.
…For years, the standards involving Islam have drawn controversy and charges of indoctrination, following terrorist attacks by the Islamic State, and study of Islam continues to be controversial. A new law in effect this year specifically prohibits proselytizing for any religion and grew out of the controversy, and public commenter Joe Cerone at the Sept. 6 Sullivan County school board meeting decried the current seventh-grade social studies text as proselytizing for Islam.
“What Tennesseans will see in the revised social studies standards are that they have increased clarity and manageability and are age-appropriate,” Laura Encalade, director of policy and research at the State Board of Education, said via email after a question to McKenzie Manning, communications coordinator for the state board, about the removal of Islam from the standards.
…To see specific changes, we encourage Tennesseans to take their own look at the standards and leave their ideas and comments,” Encalade said. “We are eager for all Tennesseans to participate in this important part of the process.
FROM SEPT. 10, 2015: Middle school parents in Tennessee are up in arms upon learning that their children were being forced to recite and write the Islamic Shahada conversion creed: “Allah is the only god and Muhammad is his prophet,” as part of an alleged ‘world history’ project.
SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP ISLAMIC INDOCTRINATION IN SCHOOLS HERE
Breitbart (h/t Emma) In the Maury County School District, students were assigned a Five Pillars of Islam project that included the translation of the pillar of “Shahada” as being, “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is his prophet.”
Joy Ellis, the mother of a seventh-grader at Spring Hill Middle School, said that Christian children should not be instructed to write the Shahada.
“This is a seventh grade state standard, and will be on the TCAP,” Ellis said. “I didn’t have a problem with the history of Islam being taught, but to go so far as to make my child write the Shahada, is unacceptable.”
Another mother of a seventh-grade girl, Brandee Porterfield, complained to officials at Spring Hill Middle School because of its overemphasis on Islam to the exclusion of Christianity and Judaism.
Porterfield said she has no objections to her daughter learning details of the Islamic religion, but she objects to the fact that the history unit didn’t devote similar time to Christianity or Judaism.
“It really did bother me that they skipped the whole chapter on the rise of Christianity and they spent three weeks just studying Islam,” she said.
Porterfield and other parents were also concerned with the school’s decision to have children write and recite the Islamic creed.
“But what really did bother me,” Porterfield said, “was that they did this assignment where they wrote out the Five Pillars of Islam, including having the children learn and write the Shahada, which is the Islamic conversion creed.”
“I spoke with the teacher and the principal,” she said. “They are not going to learn any other religion, doctrines or creeds and they are not going back over this chapter. Even though they discuss Christianity a little bit during the Middle Ages, they are not ever going to have this basis for Judaism or Christianity later.”
Porterfield said the class skipped Christianity because it’s not required by the state’s standards. Those standards, TN Core, are very similar to the national Common Core standards, though in May Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill eliminating Common Core.
In Tennessee, 85 percent of the residents identify as Christian, according to a comprehensive U.S. Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Center in 2008. Only one percent of state residents identify as Muslim.
Jan Hanvey, Maury County Public Schools’ middle school supervisor, said that most of the three-week unit discussed things like government, culture, geography, and economics, rather than theology. She also said that the chapters on Christianity and Judaism are scheduled to be taught at the end of the year with the “Age of Exploration” unit.
Maury County Director of Schools, Chris Marczak, defended the curriculum in a statement, saying that the school system is in no way endorsing Islam over other religions or trying to “indoctrinate” students.
“It is our job as a public school system to educate our students on world history in order to be ready to compete in a global society, not to endorse one religion over another or indoctrinate,” Marczak said.
Porterfield, however, finds Marczak’s assurances unconvincing. “They are not going over anything else. So for the students to have to memorize this prayer, it does seem like it is indoctrination,” she said.
A meeting between parents and school teachers and administrators has been scheduled for Sept. 17 to allow Porterfield and other concerned Springhill parents to voice their concerns about the state’s history curriculum.