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Textbook praising Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama

The mother of an 8th-grader in Wisconsin is blasting school officials over their use of a textbook lauding Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s “change” theme and highlighting his 2004 Democratic National Convention as an example of good literature.

The mother, whose name was withheld because of concern over retaliation, said on the RealDebateWisconsin blog her son is taking an advanced English class in  the Racine, Wis., Unified School District.

“I just found out that my son’s new (copyright 2008) Wisconsin – McDougal Littell Literature book has 15 pages covering Barack Obama,” she writes. “I was shocked – No John McCain, no Hillary Clinton, no George Bush – Just Barack Obama.”

The mother says it “would be one thing, if it was just the tidbit about his boyhood days, but 15 pages, and they talk about his ‘Life of Service.’”

“Honestly,” she writes, “what has Obama really done to be included in this book? Not only that, but on page 847 there is a photo of Obama at the 2004 Democratic Convention with at least 8 Obama signs in the background!”

The school district said it has launched an investigation.

“I will tell you we are working on some information we just got. Until today we didn’t know that information,” said Stephanie Hayden, a district spokeswoman.

She told WND the book “probably is one of the most popular textbooks” in the country, so her district would not be the only one using it.

“The director of curriculum and instruction is reviewing it right now,” she said.

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Staff at McDougal Littell referred a WND call to the corporate headquarters for owner Harcourt Mifflin Co.

There, spokesman Richard Blake told WND the Obama article was included because of “an editorial decision” that was made before Obama announced his candidacy, and it was deleted from versions of the book after that announcement.

To the mother upset over the Obama information provided, he said he would say, “We are committed to providing high quality and relavant literature. We provide a wide range of content to students to encourage their interest in learning. We do not espouse a political point of view.”

He said he’d had no complaints from school districts, but the information about Obama remains “factual.”

The mother says she understands “many teachers are liberals, but does the school have the right to shove Obama down our kid’s throats?”

“All the kids grouped together and read the story,” she writes. “After that, they discussed it. … I guess it appears that Obama is planning ahead. If he doesn’t get his coveted presidency, Obama is going to make sure, that the younger generations know all about him, and his ‘life of service.’”

The publishing company not only promotes Obama’s “literature,” but it also notes his 2008 campaign for the presidency and makes available on its website a CD featuring his speech in 2004. The CD also has speeches from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton and Laura Bush to teach children about public speaking, “both when it’s effective and when it fails.”

“I’m really angry about this – In fact, I would love to rip the pages right out of this book,” the mother says.

The mother says she did some research on McDougal Littell and found chairman and CEO Alfred L. McDougal of Chicago has made contributions to Obama’s campaign.

Blake told WND McDougal actually is retired now and no longer actively participating in decisions made by the publishing company.

The mother asks: “Is it ethical for an Obama supporter to publish an educational book which has a 15-page Barack Obama story in it? If the taxpayers are paying for these books, why is it okay for McDougal Littell to promote Obama? This really bothers me.”

The moderator on the RealDebate blog added, “This is not education folks, this is indoctrination.”

A contributor to the web forum Free Republic said, “One would think that focusing on the ideology of a politician currently running for president would be a bit over-the-top even for our extreme left leaning system of education in this country. But there it is anyway.”

The posting cited the book’s overt promotion of Obama.

“On one page, for instance, the kids are urged to discuss what makes them ‘proud’ before they read ‘Dreams from my Father.’ The message here is that an Obama candidacy is supposed to make everyone “proud” apparently. If you stand against Obama, I guess you stand against pride, huh?”

“Can you imagine the schools having John McCain’s campaign biography in them?” the forum contributor said.

WND columnist Jack Cashill, meanwhile, has documented evidence that Obama didn’t even write the book published under his name, “Dreams from My Father.” Cashill suggests the author actually was Weather Underground radical Bill Ayers, whose relationship with Obama has become a contentious issue on the campaign trail.

WND recently reported a five-year study of 28 prominent history, geography and social studies textbooks found American public school students are being loaded up with indoctrination about Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Middle East, to the cost of Christianity and Judaism and the benefit of Islam.


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