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Why Choose Christian Textbooks over Secular Textbooks

A former sales representative for a secular textbook company shares his experience with the secular agenda that fuels the textbook industry.

As a member of the senior sales representative board of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, I attended several new product development workshops. One in particular, the unveiling of Glencoe’s new science textbook gave me the occasion to recognize the fact that as a Christian I could no longer represent Glencoe with their science products. During the rollout of this new edition, it was also announced that Glencoe was beginning to work on a major revision of Biology, Dynamics of Life. I mentioned the debates that were taking place in many states concerning intelligent design and the fallibility of evolution. When I asked the editors and product manager if Glencoe would give any attention to these issues in their new textbooks, the senior vice president and director of the editorial staff stood up in the meeting and stated, "Glencoe will never give place to ‘pseudo-science’ in any of their science textbooks."

During my last national sales meeting with Glencoe, the president, Mr. Terry McGraw, addressed the entire company. He gave a charge to the sales force that our role in the company exceeded the capacity of sales representatives. We were told we needed to envision ourselves as "change agents," influencing the direction that academic instruction would take in the future. He challenged us to help our young people become educated in their roles as "global citizens." He also heavily stressed the need to bring "character education" into the public schools. Social Studies, Language Arts, Science and Health curriculums—all were being driven to integrate content and questions that challenged students to critically consider a "new morality." Naturally, I was concerned. Whose morality and principles of character should our public school teachers support? The values of parents, church, and community—or the "character education" espoused by a secular, humanist publisher?

During my first two years in the textbook business I worked for McDougal Littell, the secondary school division of Houghton Mifflin Companies. At a national sales meeting for a new product, The Language of Literature, one of the national consultants provided the model sales presentation of the book to the sales team. He was delighted that the authorial team had included selections of literature that represented many homosexual authors. This would allow the teacher to use discretion in addressing sexual "diversity" in a positive light.

In addition to their biased agendas, I found many major publishers sadly lacking in basic research. The "No Child Left Behind" legislation forced publishers to prove that they had used careful research to create textbooks that would produce excellent student results. Yet, textbooks changed very little from what they were before the NCLB mandate. Actually, most of the documentation was concocted after the fact to support textbooks the publishers had already invested in. That in itself was "pseudo-science" and completely ignored the intent of the legislation.

When we compare "textbook to textbook," leaving out all of the "bells and whistles" that the secular publishers use to package their products, I am convinced that the instructional design, strong biblical integration, and proven student achievement results of BJU Press textbooks give Christian schools a "no-brainer" option—to go with a product that honors God and guides students to a biblical worldview.

by John Eynon. Updated October 21, 2015.