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Some have asked why the Texas Freedom Network supported legislation last year on elective courses about the Bible in the state's public high schools. We agree with many scholars, teachers and clergy from our Texas Faith Network that the Bible has been so influential in history and literature that these classes can be, if taught appropriately, a valuable addition to a high school elective curriculum. In addition, federal courts have made it clear that local schools may choose to teach such courses. To pass court muster, they must be neutral and academic in nature and neither promote nor disparage religion. But we are not naive. Read More

Religious-right members of Congress are touting the Tom DeLay-conceived Values Action Team‘s House Values Agenda, a collection of bills they intend to file later in the year (right in time for the elections, no doubt). Far-right representatives like Joe Pitts, R-Penn., and Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, describe these bills as confronting important, groundbreaking new issues that will show the American people the differences between themselves, Democrats and moderate Republicans (which, in their estimation, likely includes Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain).

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), said [the Values Action Team’s] agenda would help Republicans draw a bright line between their principles and those of their Democratic colleagues.

“Rep. Joe Pitts’s [head of the Values Action Team] values agenda is a terrific addition to the toolbox of policies that Republican members and candidates will use this year to draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on issues that are important to the American people,” Steel said.

In fact, their agenda is nothing more than the usual wedge issues — abortion, gay marriage, etc. — the far right trots out each election year to demonize certain Americans in hopes of garnering votes… Read More

It was, in a twisted way, a remarkable performance. In long, rambling testimony before the House Public Education Committee today, the chairman of the State Board of Education displayed a stunning disregard for facts, teachers and the will of the Legislature. Proclaiming that "Texans should be very proud of its education board," board chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, effectively thumbed his nose at a legion of angry teachers sitting in audience. Those teachers had come to tell committee members how very little they agree with that sentiment (although McLeroy left the hearing before they testified). Then McLeroy tap danced around pointed questions regarding the board's refusal so far to obey a legislative requirement to develop new, specific curriculum standards for public school classes about the Bible's influence in history and literature. Read More

Stay tuned to TFN Insider for a recap of today’s House Public Education Committee hearing on the deeply dysfunctional State Board of Education.

The board has been taking fire from committee members and teachers over its mishandling of the revision of language arts curriculum standards this spring. TFN Deputy Director Ryan Valentine will be testifying about the state board’s abuse of legislative limits on its authority.

You can watch the meeting live online here (click LiveStream 2).… Read More

by TFN

Keep an eye out for the Texas Freedom Network booth in the exhibit hall at Netroots Nation this week in Austin! Meet staff members and learn about our organization.

TFN Deputy Director Ryan Valentine

This weekend TFN Deputy Director Ryan Valentine will speak at Netroots Nation on two separate panels:

Fighting for Progressive Values in Texas (Friday, 1:30 p.m.)

What Ever Happened to the Religious Left? (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)

We look forward to seeing you there!… Read More

PPTV

"In my district we don't focus on bathrooms, we focus on classrooms." TY @SenatorSylvia for fighting for true TX v… twitter.com/i/web/st…

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