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'Textbook War' journalist to present a new radio documentary about culture war battles over Texas curriculum
A special advance listening session of "Long Game: Texas' Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom" for the Marshall community will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the John Deaver Drinko Library, room 402. The presentation of the documentary will be followed by a panel discussion that will include Kay and Dr. Kathy Seelinger, professor of education at Marshall. The presentation is open to the public and admission is free, although seating may be limited.
"Long Game" will be broadcast on West Virginia Public Radio at 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7.
"The story of the Kanawha textbook controversy was an example of where the nation was in the early'70s regarding culture wars and education," Kay said. "Texas is a great example of where those battles are today. For more than a half a century, citizens of the Lone Star State have had intense, emotional battles over what children should and should not be taught in public school classrooms."
The hour-long "Long Game" begins with a focus on the recent controversy over an online set of lesson plans widely used in Texas schools. "Tea Party" parents believed these lessons to be pro-Communist, anti-Christian and pro-Islam. Earlier this year, they successfully pushed to remove the lessons from Texas schools. The piece moves on to discuss how an unlikely conservative, religious couple created an organization powerful enough to force textbook publishers to alter books. The documentary closes by examining the battle over what science textbooks should teach about evolution in public school classrooms.
"The Great Textbook War" was honored with Peabody, Murrow and DuPont awards. Kay also has contributed numerous reports to national programs, including This American Life, Marketplace, Morning Edition, American RadioWorks, Studio 360 and Frontline. In 2005, he shared a Peabody for his contribution to Studio 360's "American Icons: Moby Dick" program.
"Long Game" was made possible by the Spencer Fellowship for Education Reporting at Columbia University's School of Journalism, with additional funding provided by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, Marist College, the CRC Foundation and Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.