I woke up to look over my breakfast bowl to see that Huffington Post let loose an article about publishing giant McGraw-Hill. Seems this $24-billion mega company (MHFI on the New York Stock Exchange) made a captioning error in a high school geography textbook: not usually the stuff headlines are made of.

But this caption – given the charged atmosphere of Black Lives Matter and reltaions between police and the African American community – seems rightly reprehensible. Already in Texas schools, a 9th grade student “discovered” the following faulty caption:

Atlantic Slave Trade…brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.

Um… oops?!?!

The offending captioning in a ninth grade geography book.

The offending captioning in a ninth grade geography book.

Yeah, I can see those millions of unemployed slaves standing in line filling out their job applications hoping for a job in Georgia ala 1753.

What could I do?

Well, as someone who teaches collegians, I did send an email to MHFI that I was “not likely to order McGraw-Hill products” if this were the sort of over-site and care given to produce textbooks. In response (likely a stock one), the company returned my email:

We are deeply sorry that the caption was written the way it was. While the book was reviewed by many people inside and outside the company, and was made available for public review, no one raised concerns about the caption. Yet, clearly, something went wrong and we must and will do better.

We are offering our customers who are currently using the book a choice of either a sticker to cover and replace the caption or a new, corrected, printed copy of the book. We are in the process of changing the caption in the digital version of the program as well.

All of us at McGraw-Hill Education care passionately for the students, teachers and communities we serve. People have been hurt by this mistake and we need to correct it. We will.

Well, OK.

Except that, according to the San Antonio Current blog site, Texas State Board of Education member, David Bradley, thought reaction to McGraw-Hill’s captioning gaff was “going a little bit overboard, adding people’s outrage over the misrepresentation of history would “make for a great Seinfeld episode: something out of nothing.”

Hmn. Truth = nothing.

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