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)

 

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

Odessa Bible Class Lawsuit a Result of Reckless Decisions by Local Officials

School Trustees Put Their Religious and Political Agendas above the Interests of Students and Taxpayers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 16, 2007

A lawsuit filed today over Bible courses in Odessa public high schools is the direct result of reckless decisions made by local officials over the past two years, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“This is a case study in what happens when public officials put their own religious and political agendas ahead of the interests of students and taxpayers,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Instead of model courses that respect both the Bible and religious freedom, school board members created a model for promoting their own religious views over everybody else’s.”

The Texas Freedom Network is a religious liberties watchdog group based in Austin and has conducted in-depth research into public school Bible courses. TFN is not a party to the lawsuit in Odessa.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit two years after the Ector County Independent School District voted to offer elective Bible courses in Odessa public high schools. In December 2005, the school board adopted a deeply flawed… Read More

House Passage of Committee’s Bible Class Bill Is a Victory for Religious Freedom in Texas

House Wisely Rejects Efforts to Strip Safeguards from Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 8, 2007

The Texas House today rejected irresponsible efforts to strip critical safeguards for religious freedom from a bill on public school classes about the Bible. The House voted overwhelmingly to give the bill preliminary approval and send it to Third Reading.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said the House’s action on House Bill 1287 gives the Bible and religious freedom the respect they deserve.

“Public schools are not Sunday schools, and most people get nervous when government gets too involved in religion,” Miller said. “The safeguards in this bill protect the right of families and clergy, not the government, to tell our schoolchildren what to believe about the Bible. We hope the Senate now shows the same respect for religious freedom that House members showed today.”

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 joined with organizations like the Christian Life Commission, the… Read More

Texas Freedom Network Applauds House Committee Action on Bible Class Bill

Public Education Committee Adds Responsible Safeguards to H.B. 1287 to Protect Religious Freedom and School Districts from Legal Jeopardy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 19, 2007

The Texas Freedom Network today applauded the work of the House Public Education Committee, which added key safeguards to a bill calling for Bible classes in Texas public high schools.

“These committee members clearly understood that families and churches, not the government, should teach our children what to believe about the Bible,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “They voted to give the Bible the respect it deserves and we trust that the full House will show the same care and diligence when it takes up the bill.”

Through a series of amendments, the committee added the following safeguards to the bill: – measures on teacher training and qualifications, – requirements for curriculum standards and an actual textbook (rather than using the Bible as a textbook), – stronger protections for the religious freedom of students and their families, and – allowing local school officials to decide whether their districts will offer courses about the Bible.

A 2006 study… Read More

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