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)

 

The Free Market Foundation, the Plano-based Texas affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, has a new pitch for donations — and don’t expect much in the way of truth.

Near the top of the list of whoppers in Free Market’s letter is a claim of victory in a lawsuit over a Bible class offered by the Ector County (Odessa) Independent School District in West Texas. “The district will permanently have a Bible course, with the Bible as the textbook, and may use additional outside resources as well,” Free Market crows in its letter. “Our victory was a huge setback for the ACLU’s national plans.”

Well, no. The American Civil Liberties Union sought to forbid the school district from using an error-riddled, blatantly sectarian Bible curriculum that promotes the religious views of Protestant Christian fundamentalists over everybody else’s. The ACLU succeeded. During mediation, school officials agreed to drop the curriculum of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools and develop an alternative set of class materials. So long as the district uses a curriculum that neither promotes nor attacks anyone’s religion, the district may continue to offer the course. (The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report about the National Council’s dreadfulRead More

SBOE Must Comply with the Law on Bible Class Standards

Lawmakers Passed Curriculum Requirement to Protect Districts, Taxpayers and Religious Freedom of Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 27, 2008

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today called on the State Board of Education to comply with legislation passed last year that requires specific content curriculum standards for new elective Bible courses in public schools.

Last year the Texas Legislature clearly intended in House Bill 1287 for the state board to develop specific content curriculum standards that would guide districts in offering better – and legal – courses about the Bible, Miller said.

“Bible literacy courses deserve the same respect and rigor as classes on health, social studies and mathematics,” Miller said. “Moreover, school districts need help in designing these courses to protect the religious freedom of their students and avoid costly lawsuits. That’s why the Legislature included this critical safeguard.”… Read More

Odessa Lawsuit Agreement Confirms TFN Warnings about Deeply Flawed Bible Course

Schools Using Flawed Curriculum Put Taxpayers at Risk

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 5, 2008

Today’s agreement to remove a widely marketed Bible curriculum from Odessa public schools confirms that the curriculum is deeply flawed and threatens the religious freedom of students, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“The agreement reached in Odessa today demonstrates that the National Council’s curriculum is inappropriate for use in any school, public or private,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Its error-riddled pages and sloppy scholarship cheapen the study of the Bible. More fundamentally, however, the district clearly had no business promoting the narrow religious views of some over all others in its public school classrooms.”

The Texas Freedom Network is a religious liberties watchdog group based in Austin.

Miller was responding to the announcement that the Ector County Independent School District in Odessa, Texas, has agreed to stop using materials from the North Carolina-based National Council for Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. The district must now appoint a committee to create a new curriculum for its classes about the Bible’s influence in history and literature. The decision ends a lawsuit… Read More

Recorded Lecture Reveals New Texas Education Board Chair’s Hostility To Science, Religious Tolerance

McLeroy Characterizes Evolution/’Intelligent Design’ Debate as Clash Between ‘Orthodox Christians’ and Others

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 2007

A recorded lecture reveals that the new chairman of the State Board of Education harbors a shocking hostility to both sound science education and religious tolerance, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“This recording makes clear the very real danger that Texas schoolchildren may soon be learning more about the religious beliefs of politicians than about sound science in their biology classes,” TFN President Kathy Miller said today. “Even worse, it appears that Don McLeroy believes anyone who disagrees with him can’t be a true Christian.”

Gov. Rick Perry appointed McLeroy, a Bryan dentist, as chairman of the state board in July. McLeroy’s statements during his lecture are particularly insulting to Roman Catholics and millions of other Christians who see no conflict between their religious faith and accepting the science behind evolution, Miller said.

“Texas parents should be very concerned that the governor chose an anti-science, religious ideologue to lead the state body that sets policy for our public schools,” she said. “He… Read More

Texas Freedom Network Statement on Senate Passage of Bible Class Bill

Senate Keeps Safeguards That Protect Religious Freedom in Public School Bible Classes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 23, 2007

The Texas Senate today overwhelming passed a bill setting standards for public high school classes about the Bible. The bill includes safeguards for religious freedom unanimously adopted by the House earlier this month. It also leaves to local school officials the option to offer these classes. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement on Senate passage of House Bill 1287:

“Today the Senate kept safeguards in this bill that should prevent government from telling our schoolchildren what to believe about the Bible,” Miller said. “We will now join with families across the state to ensure that schools adhere to the bill’s clear standards that promote respect for both the Bible and the religious freedom of all students.”

State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, authored H.B. 1287, which would have required every public high school to offer classes about the Bible beginning in September of this year. The Texas Freedom Network insisted that safeguards for religious freedom be added to the bill. In April the House Public… Read More

Amanda Bennett

I got to tell current & former Janes that today, Stephanie Toti filed a lawsuit that challenges the law that shamed, delayed, & traumatized them. Listen to their responses in this thread 👇😭❤️😍 #JusticeforJane #PeoplesLawsuit twitter.com/janesdue…

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