McGraw-Hill Education, the publisher virtually synonymous with primary learning in the United States, stopped short of apologizing this week after a mother was appalled on the lessons her son was being taught in his geography.
Roni Dean-Burren, who is Black, posted a vlog on her Facebook that has since went viral to the tune of more than one million views, explaining how McGraw-Hill Education (and its lengthy list of Texan teachers with ph.D’s who approved of the book) decided it would be best to rename slavery as “patterns of immigration” in World Geography.
“This is one of defining attributes of the United States that it is a largely a country of immigrants and their descendants,” Burren read from the book. Shortly after, she got the deal breaker where the publisher said, “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s-1800s brought millions of ‘workers’ from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.
Immediately following on the backlash and enthusiastic conversation Burren saw generated from her posting, McGraw Hill-Education released a statement owning up to their little mistake.
This week, we became aware of a concern regarding a caption reference to slavery on a map in one of our world geography programs. This program addresses slavery in the world in several lessons and meets the learning objectives of the course. However, we conducted a close review of the content and agree that our language in that caption did not adequately convey that Africans were both forced into migration and to labor against their will as slaves.
We believe we can do better. To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run.
McGraw-Hill Education is committed to developing the highest quality educational materials and upholding the academic integrity of our products. We value the insight the public brings to discussions of our content.
Watch Burren’s video below. She just very well may have stopped a snowball effect in racial erosion.
Photo: White House/News Pictures/WENN.com