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State Board Approves Flawed Health Textbooks Textbooks Lack Age-Appropriate, Accurate Information on Family Planning and Disease Prevention FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 5, 2004

AUSTIN High school students in Texas will not have access to state-mandated information on family planning and disease prevention in high school health textbooks adopted by the State Board of Education (SBOE) today.

“This is a sad day for Texas teens,” said Samantha Smoot, president of the Texas Freedom Network. “Four million teenagers will rely on these textbooks for information that is accurate and up-to-date. Instead of doing the responsible thing and providing high school students with life-saving information about sex and health, the State Board of Education has left them to fend for themselves and get information from each other and sources like the Internet and MTV.”

The SBOE voted to approve for adoption by the state’s public schools four high school health textbooks. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards for health education require that students be able to analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods as well as abstinence.… Read More

Thousands Of Texans Join Campaign For Responsible Health Textbooks State Board of Education to Decide Nov. 5 on Flawed New Textbooks That Include No Information on Family Planning and Prevention of STDs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 1, 2004

AUSTIN Activists on Monday delivered to the State Board of Education thousands of postcards from concerned Texans opposing the adoption of dangerously flawed health textbooks for the state’s high schools.

The State Board of Education will decide Nov. 5 whether to approve the new textbooks. The proposed books include no information on family planning and the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases except through abstinence. The lack of this information in the textbooks is irresponsible, said Melanie Cox, parent of 17-year-old high school student, on Monday.

“Families are faced with more challenges than ever in raising healthy, responsible children,” said Cox “They need common sense, practical information on sex and health that deals with the real-life situations we face every day.”… Read More

Samantha Smoot To Step Down As Texas Freedom Network President Six-Year Term Sees Growth, Victories on Vouchers, Textbooks, Hate Crimes FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 22, 2004

AUSTIN Samantha Smoot will step down as president of the Texas Freedom Network at the end of this year.

“The last six years have been remarkable, largely because of the spirit and dedication of TFN’s many supporters,” Smoot said. “It has been a privilege to work shoulder to shoulder with people so deeply committed to fundamental democratic principles.”

Smoot took over as head of the Texas Freedom Network in 1998. Cecile Richards founded the organization in 1995 and served as its executive director until that time.

Terry Kenyon, chairman of the Texas Freedom Network’s Board of Directors, said a committee has already begun a search to replace Smoot.

“The Texas Freedom Network has made great strides under Sam’s leadership,” Kenyon said. “We’re all proud of what she has accomplished and are obviously very sad to see her go.”

Among the accomplishments during Smoot’s tenure:… Read More

Texas Freedom Network President Backs Education Commissioner’s Call For Teaching State Health Standards Commissioner calls on schools to “teach the state curriculum,” but new textbooks currently do not include mandated information on sex and health FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 15, 2004

AUSTIN The president of the Texas Freedom Network today backed Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley’s call for schools to teach to the state’s curriculum standards.

“Ms. Neeley is right on target in calling for schools to teach to the state’s curriculum standards,” said Samantha Smoot of the Texas Freedom Network.

“Now she needs to fulfill her responsibility as education commissioner by calling on the State Board of Education to insist that proposed new high school health textbooks conform to the health curriculum standards. Publishers must add mandated information about family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV to those textbooks.”

The new health textbooks currently include no information about contraception and STD prevention except through abstinence. Yet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards require that students be able to “analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods” as well as abstinence.… Read More

Experts, Organizations Call For Responsible Health Textbooks In Texas High Schools State Board of Education Hears Testimony on Proposed Textbooks that Omit Vital Information on Preventing Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14, 2004

AUSTIN The State Board of Education (SBOE) should insist that publishers conform to all curriculum standards by adding basic, reliable information on birth control and disease prevention to their proposed new high school health textbooks, said the president of the Texas Freedom Network on Wednesday.

“Families are faced with more challenges than ever in raising healthy, responsible children, and they need common sense, practical information on sex and health that deals with the real-life situations they face every day,” said Texas Freedom Network President Samantha Smooth.

Smoot spoke at a public hearing on health textbooks up for approval by the SBOE.

She joined representatives from organizations like Planned Parenthood, clergy, medical experts, educators, parents and other mainstream Texans who lined up Wednesday to call for responsible high school health textbooks. A vast majority of the more than 100 people who signed up to testify opposed the lack of information about sex and health in the textbooks.… Read More

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