Educators in Virginia are wondering what to do with the thousands of copies of an error-ridden history textbook that the school districts there have purchased:
A panel of historians has found an "appalling" number of factual errors in a new fourth-grade history textbook used in many Virginia school districts, one of the experts said...The historical inaccuracies "are appalling in number,"...the book needs more than 140 corrections.
I hope they don't throw them away. This seems like a great opportunity to teach students in Virginia and beyond some important lessons about education (things I wish I'd been more cognizant of in the early days of my education):
- It's possible for so-called authoritative texts to contain blatant, significant errors and personal biases. Just because something is in print doesn't mean it's correct.
- It matters who peer reviews a publication. If they're not trained to look for all of the different kinds of errors that can occur, or if they're just not looking at all, you might as well not have a peer review process.
- The education system does not always work in favor of actual education, and sometimes it works against it.
I know they're just 4th graders, but it would be so interesting to use the flawed books to teach a unit on how textbooks are produced, and the effect of factual and conceptual errors in widely circulated publications.