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Selecting Textbooks

In reference to the letter from Mohammed Yacoob (Feb. 12), he does not seem to understand the purpose of a textbook, particularly one aimed at a seventh-grade reader. It cannot be all inclusive, nor is it meant to be the only source of information in a classroom.

A state panel of teachers, historians, an Islamic scholar and others with special expertise found the Houghton Mifflin series to be the only K-8 series to be up to the standard of the nationally praised California history-social science framework. It is lack of knowledge of Islamic religion and culture that creates the prejudice Yacoob was alluding to, not this book. Perhaps he should review what our students are currently using in Los Angeles classrooms.

Maxine Asher (letter, Feb. 12) is correct in some of her allegations concerning local district textbook adoption practices. The state attorney general, however, exonerated the California state adoption procedure under which this series was recommended to school districts.

If the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education interferes with its own established process and does not allow teachers to decide whether to use the state-approved series or not, then once again a decision will be made that adversely impacts the education of our children. This will be a decision made on the basis of political ideology, not educational philosophy.

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DANIEL M. CHERNOW

Woodland Hills

The writer is chairman of the history-social science subject matter committee of the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission, advisory body to the State Board of Education.


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