Screenshot of a website linked to in a chain email sent to Irving ISD's school board
If you asked me to make a list of top public concerns about Irving ISD, indoctrinating its students into Islam wouldn’t be on it. This is a school board whose chambers are currently festooned with wreaths and jingle bells, and which kicked off its last meeting with a prayer “in Jesus’ name.”
And yet at yesterday afternoon’s work session, the first item after that opening prayer was a half-hour report on whether Irving’s curriculum is too pro-Islam.
To be more specific, the report was on whether there was a pro-Islam bias in CSCOPE — a state-wide third-party curriculum package the district started using last year.
Back in late October, someone named Ginger Russell sent a chain email with the subject “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” to school board members and district officials.
A version of that email had actually been sent out across Texas, warning that “Christians are going to have to stand up against the pro Islamic teaching in our public schools with CSCOPE curriculum.”
Specific charges: that CSCOPE conflated the Red Cross and Islamic Red Crescent, and that it referred to the Boston Tea Party as a terrorist act.
Irving ISD admins were concerned enough that they got in touch with Region 10, which administers CSCOPE.
Region 10 already knew about the email, and quickly sent the school district back some talking points to the effect that their curriculum followed state guidelines and the email was inaccurate.
Superintendent Dana Bedden passed those reassurances along to the school board. But he said trustee Steven Jones “didn’t think the response was good enough **” — so Bedden asked the CSCOPE folks to talk to the board directly.
**Jones told me he never requested the presentation, although he dislikes CSCOPE in general and thinks its treatment of Islam is “very politically correct.”
So that’s how Region 10’s director of instruction ended up at Monday’s work session, fighting through a chest cold to re-reassure the school board.
The director, Jan Moberly, said she hired a “very socially and fiscally conservative” former social studies teacher who “watches Glenn Beck on a regular basis” to seek out any Islamic bias in CSCOPE.
“I asked her to look for anything she would consider the least bit controversial,” Moberly told the board. That entailed reading through every textbook and cross referencing each religious reference with the CSCOPE guidelines.
Moberly’s presentation was accompanied by the fruits of her investigation: a 72-page handout listing every religious reference in the CSCOPE curriculum, from kindergarten to high school.
The upshot of the investigation:
- Christianity got twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion. Islam was a distant second.
- The Red Crescent and Boston Tea Party reference mentioned in the email were nowhere in CSCOPE’s curriculum, although they may have been in the past.
- If there was any Islamic bias in CSCOPE it was “bias against radical Islam.”
I’ve yet to hear any complaints about that last one.
You can watch a recording of Moberly’s presentation and read that 72-page tome yourself, courtesy of Irving ISD.