The anti-evolution Discovery Institute is accusing the Texas Freedom Network of going on a hypocritical “rant.” Last week TFN criticized the Texas State Board of Education‘s inclusion of three creationists on a six-member panel that will review science curriculum standards for the state’s public schools. All three are supporters of “intelligent design”/creationism, which Discovery promotes as an alternative to scientific evolution. The fact that creationists on the state board appointed those three clearly revealed the ideological agenda they are pushing on our children in Texas public schools.
We also noted that two of the three creationist panel members had authored a textbook, Explore Evolution, that seeks to portray the overwhelming body of mainstream science supporting evolution as somehow suspect. Yet in 2011, the state board could consider approving the purchase of that textbook for Texas public schools. As TFN President Kathy Miller said:
It’s simply stunning that any state board members would even consider appointing authors of an anti-evolution textbook to a panel of scientists. Are they coming here to help write good science standards or to drum up a market for their lousy textbook?
This year the far-right faction that controls the Texas State Board of Education has been even more contemptuous of teachers and the law than in the past. Now it appears that in addition to bullying teachers, David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, may have a history of threatening at least one fellow board member.
Some of the board’s right-wingers — especially Bradley — have bullied teachers who dare come before them with suggestions and concerns about what our public schools should be teaching Texas children. This week the Examiner, a Southeast Texas newspaper, revealed that Cynthia Thornton, a former board member — and a fellow Republican — claims Bradley bullied and threatened her when she served on the board. As a result, Thornton says, the Texas Education Agency had to post armed security at board meetings.
“To make a long story short, every year it got worse and worse between Bradley and I, and everybody in Austin was watching the show. And I decided I’m not going to put up with this stuff and I flat told him off. The first time he grabbed me was when I made it plain that what he… Read More
UPDATE: TFN Insider has been getting heavy traffic from folks looking to read more about the battle over teaching evolution in Texas public schools. Why does this debate over public school science curriculum standards matter outside Texas? Publishers will use the new standards to create new textbooks. Because Texas is such a large market for textbook sales, publishers typically craft their textbooks for this state and then sell those books to other schools across the country. So the results of this curriculum process could have consequences for far more than just the 4.6 million children in Texas public schools.
Creationists who control the Texas State Board of Education have now taken a critical step in their crusade to water down instruction on evolution in public school science classrooms. As we told you last month, teacher and academic work groups have proposed strong new science curriculum standards regarding evolution, a concept that provides the foundation for the study of all the biological sciences. Now, however, the state board’s creationist faction is moving to undermine that proposal.
Texas State Board of Education elections rarely get much attention. But with the adoption of new science standards and textbooks next year, races involving some members of the far-right faction on the SBOE this year have garnered more interest than usual.
In recent days, a number of articles and op-eds have been published across Texas either endorsing the challengers of the extremist bloc on the SBOE or criticizing incumbents’ policies.
Two pieces published in Southeast Texas’ The Examiner, have questioned whether or not SBOE vice chairman David Bradley, R-BeaumontBuna, even lives in the district he represents.
David Bradley, a Beaumont insurance agent and real estate investor, was first elected to the State Board of Education (SBOE) in 1996. Since he stood for re-election in 2000, the issue of exactly where Bradley lives has been raised in every election cycle by the campaigns of his opponents.
The 2008 general election is no different, with Democratic nominee Laura Ewing openly questioning Republican Bradley’s eligibility to represent SBOE District 7, which includes Jefferson, Chambers and Galveston counties and parts of Brazoria and Harris counties.
An investigation that the Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute tried unsuccessfully to block has concluded that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, broke the law when she fired her state’s public safety commissioner. The commissioner had refused to fire a trooper who was Palin’s former brother-in-law.
The investigator’s report is available here.
The Liberty Legal Institute is the legal arm of the Plano-based Free Market Foundation, which itself is the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family. Click here for more background on the case and why a religious-right organization from Texas was involved in a case in Alaska.… Read More