Education

With a public school enrollment of more than 5 million, Texas has an increasingly diverse public education system. Unfortunately, that public education system is also the target of politicians seeking to privatize our neighborhood public schools and push a culture-war agenda in the classroom.

To that end, the Texas Freedom Network – while continuing to fight private school voucher legislation at the Capitol – has conducted groundbreaking research into what is being taught in classrooms on subjects like sex education and religion.

Resources

Broken Promises: Charter Schools in Texas (2000 report)

Broken Promises II (2001 report)

 

The State Board of Education: Dragging Texas Schools into the Culture Wars (2008 report)

 

Just Say Don’t Know: Sex Education in Texas Public Schools (2009 report)

Sex Education in Public Schools: Progress in the Lone Star State (2011 report)

Reading Writing & Religion: Teaching the Bible in Texas Public Schools (2006 report)

Reading, Writing & Religion II (2013 report)

Can This Class Be Saved? The ‘Hobby Lobby’ Public School Bible Curriculum (2014 report)

 

Stand up for science education in Texas public schools

Texas students should be learning 21st-century science in their public schools classrooms. But the Texas Freedom Network has had to beat back repeated efforts by the right to undermine science education in the Lone Star State. Most recently, we defeated efforts in 2013 to force textbooks to lie to students about the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution and climate science. Now the State Board of Education is planning to make revisions to the state’s curriculum standards for science. Those standards guide what more than 5 million students learn in their public school classrooms. TFN is working to ensure that the revised standards don’t promote anti-evolution and anti-climate change nonsense that scientists have thoroughly debunked. You can help by pledging to Stand Up for Science in Texas:          Spam Control Text:   Please leave this field empty … Read More

Rafael Cruz, the fringe religious-righter and father of Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is claiming (inaccurately, of course) that our nation’s public education system was founded by “a member of the American Communist Party.” Here’s an excerpt from a report by our friends at Right Wing Watch: The elder Cruz alleged in an interview on the Sirius XM program “Breitbart News Daily” this morning that public schools are brainwashing children into communism as a result of the work of education reformer John Dewey. While he did correctly identify Dewey as a secular humanist, Cruz alleged that “John Dewey was a member of the American Communist Party,” when, in fact, Dewey was “an avowed anti-Communist” who even believed that “known Communists should not be permitted to teach children.” He co-founded the anti-Communist Committee for Cultural Freedom and was widely denounced by supporters of the Communist Party. Cruz said that Dewey’s influence in the school system instilled anti-American values in children and, as a result, created “chaos in society.” This prompted Cruz to discuss Common Core, which he claimed “is about redefining education, redefining history and attempting to brainwash kids with a secularist view of history … Read More

You already know it’s a presidential election year. It’s also an election year for the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), with eight of the board’s 15 seats on ballots all across the state this November. SBOE races don’t always get much attention, which is unfortunate because if you’ve followed us here you probably know how important — or how much of a headache — the board can be. The board has the power to decide what’s taught to more than 5 million public school students, and throughout the years some SBOE members haven’t been shy about pushing the culture wars into the classroom. So with that in mind, if you live in SBOE districts 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14 or 15, you can vote for an SBOE member this year. (If you don’t know which SBOE district you’re in, you can find out here.) In districts 14 and 15, you won’t have a choice on who to vote for as both incumbents — Sue Melton-Malone, R-Waco, and Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo — are unopposed. The rest of you will have contested SBOE races on your ballots. Below are this year’s SBOE candidates. We encourage you to … Read More

The right’s contempt for facts is especially evident when it comes to issues like climate change and evolution. Here’s some of the science denialism we heard from the right on in 2015. (Click here for previous posts on what we heard from the right in 2015.) “I’m going to punt on that one as well. That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another. I love the evolution of trade in Wisconsin.” – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, responding to questions about his thoughts on evolution during his failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. “No, it hasn’t changed my mind. We all have the same evidence, and it’s just a matter of how you interpret it. There’s no dates stamped on these things.” – Canadian Edgar Nernberg, who serves on the board of a creationist museum that promotes the idea that Earth is only about 6,000 years old, explaining his personal discovery of 60-million-year-old fish fossil. “Humans, horses, and other animals do not use similar facial muscles and communicative expressions because of shared ancestry, but they do share a common Designer and so we would expect to see similarities in living things — and … Read More

by Dan Quinn

Education continues to be a major battleground in the religious right’s culture wars. If they’re not trying to destroy public education, religious righters are trying to use it instead to indoctrinate students in right-wing ideology. Here’s some of what we heard from the right on this issue in 2015. (Click here for previous posts on what we heard from the right in 2015.) “We have a monstrosity, a monopoly. It’s called public school.” – Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, explaining her support for voucher legislation that would shift public funding to private and religious schools. “(W)e are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with a program that removes our young children from homes and half-day religious preschools and mothers’ day out programs to a Godless environment…” – In a letter from Tea Party activists on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s special “Grassroots Advisory Board,” arguing that proposed legislation for pre-K classes would lead Texas kids to Godless socialism. “Could the IB program in an American public school classroom be at the heart of America’s continuing move to the left? – MerryLynn Gerstenschlager of Texas Eagle Forum, worrying that the widely respected International Baccalaureate … Read More

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