by Al Benson Jr.
Here are some brief observations about the textbook controversy in Kanawha County, West Virginia made in the Summer of 1975 (shortly before we moved to West Virginia). When I originally wrote this, the textbook protest had been going on for something like ten months.
At that point, I supposed in years to come, many books and articles would be written on this topic. I felt some would try the objective approach, which must not be as easy as it seems, because most of what I have read about the protest was anything but objective.
I felt some would write from the viewpoint of the so-called "educational elite" and would seek to tear the book protesters to shreds in print. This has proved to be the case in most instances. Much of the so-called "news" media did exactly that right from the beginning and even decades later continues to do the same thing whenever the subject comes up.
It was, and is, interesting to note that the best efforts of the "news" media still could not keep many of us from finding out what really went on in West Virginia.
I guess it comes as no surprise for me to say that, from the start, I was for the textbook protesters. I made no bones about agreeing with their positon and what they did. I still don't.
I had been in contact, via phone and mail, with them since the Fall of 1974 and was finally able to go to West Virginia the following Summer and spend some time with them. At that point, I thought that the day would come when people all over the country would suddenly wake up and find out what the public, or government, school system they finance with their taxes is doing to their children.
I prayed, (and still pray) that when that day comes that more Americans will have the courage to do what the folks in Kanawha County, West Virginia did. As stated earlier, I originally made these observations in the Summer of 1975, half my life ago. I have seen growth in Christian schools and a surge in home schooling in all those years. I believe that somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2 million students are now being home schooled in this country and it is now legal to do so in all states. That was not always the case. So progress has been made. However, we still see the majority of Christians sending their kids to what amount to government propaganda factories that we choose to call public schools and wondering why the kids leave the church by the time they leave high school.
In spite of all that has happened, most of the Christians still don't get it. In 1975 I wrote: "Somewhere along the line Americans have got to stand up for their faith, their children, their nation and its heritage or they will lose it all. West Virginia is standing up. How about the rest of America?"
Later, I found out that in 1975 there were something like seventeen separate book protests going on in the country. But, since some of them were not as widespread as the one in West Virginia, the "news" media were pretty much able to keep them under wraps except at the local level. They'd have done the same thing in West Virginia could they have managed it.
Over the decades I have observed the "news" media in action and believe me, for the most part, what they give you is not news, it is spin.
As I am able to in this series, I will comment on the foundations of the public school system in the United Stated and about the "father of the common schools" Horace Mann. But that will have to wait for the next installment.
To be continued.