A report issued earlier this year by Harvard University's Program on Education Policy and Governance concluded that U.S. students are failing to bridge the educational chasm separating them from their foreign peers1. "Textbooks" like this one will help ensure that things stay that way:
Are the cultural wars between creationism and evolution the only thing to blame for America's academic shortfall? No. Of course not. But textbooks like this should be identified for what they are. They're an affront to critical thinking, an affront to progress.
Boing boing's Cory Doctorow calls the book's review questions pedagogically dubious. "What is the point of a 'test,'" he asks, "that tells you what to write in the blanks?" Whatever it is, it certainly isn't education.
1. The relevant quote, lifted from the "Overall Results" section of the report:
U.S. progress [is not] sufficiently rapid to allow it to catch up with the leaders of the industrialized world. In the United States, test-score performance has improved annually at a rate of about 1.6 percent of a standard deviation (std. dev.). Over the 14 years, gains are estimated to be about 22 percent of a std. dev. or the equivalent of about a year's worth of learning. By comparison, students in three countries-Latvia, Chile, and Brazil-improved at an annual rate of 4 percent of a std. dev., and students in another eight countries-Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia, and Lithuania-were making gains at twice the rate of students in the United States. Gains made by students in these 11 countries are estimated to be at least two years' worth of learning. Another 13 countries also appeared to be doing better than the U.S.