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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… 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

We told you on Monday that the House Public Education Committee had scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. this morning about the State Board of Education. Ryan Valentine, the Texas Freedom Network's deputy director, is testifying for TFN today. Here's an excerpt: Over the past 13 years, and especially in the past 12 months, we have watched the state board’s focus on educating Texas schoolchildren become diverted with unnecessary and divisive debates over politics and the personal agendas of some of its members. The board has become increasingly dysfunctional. Its important work has become bogged down and undermined by secretive political maneuvering that is arrogantly disrespectful of teachers, of established rules and open processes, and even of the law itself. Read More

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