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Is ‘capitalism’ a dirty word?

Need to Know has been following the battle in Texas over what kids should learn.  The state board of education is in the middle of revising the standards for social studies textbooks for grades K through 12. A group of Christian conservatives on the board say they are trying to correct a liberal bias they see in the curriculum. According to board member Teri Leo, liberal professors have been writing the textbooks. She says, “That’s part of the problem of how we end up with distorted and liberal-biased textbooks is because that’s who’s writing them.”

Critics countercharge that these board members are trying to impose their conservative ideology into the curriculum.

Many of the heated debates centered on very specific words, like “propaganda” as used in world history books about the causes leading up to World War I.  The word “imperialism” was replaced with “expansionism” in a discussion of America’s role around the world. Don McLeroy, a conservative member on the board, told Need to Know that the current textbook standards “downplayed the positive impact that the United States has been for people and freedom.”

One of the changes the board voted to make was replacing the word “capitalism” with the term “free enterprise system.” According to board member Terri Leo, the word “capitalism” has been misappropriated over the years, and has subsequently taken on negative associations (i.e., “capitalist pig”).

But not everyone on the board agrees, as you will see in the following excerpt of one of the board’s meetings.

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