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Texas Freedom Network Applauds Bipartisan Efforts On School Finance FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 20, 2004

AUSTIN – The president of the Texas Freedom Network today applauded the bipartisan efforts of moderate Republican and Democratic legislators who have pledged to work together to fund public education in Texas.

Samantha Smoot, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said she was encouraged that some legislators were working to return state government to the days when our leaders worked across party lines to bring progress to Texas.

“We hope that Gov. Perry and legislative leaders will hear the call for bipartisanship — a call that puts kids over politics,” Smoot said. “School finance is not a partisan issue. Our state’s leaders should reject efforts by special interests to use school finance as a smokescreen for pushing narrow, ideological agendas like private school vouchers and gutting quality education standards for public schools.”

A February draft report from the House Select Committee on Public School Finance included proposals for vouchers and for “home rule,” which would allow cash-strapped public schools to abandon quality education standards. The March report from the Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance also included proposals for “home rule.”… Read More

Vouchers, ‘Home Rule’ Are Not The Solution To School Funding Crisis FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 13, 2004

The president of the Texas Freedom Network called today for legislators to reject radical proposals for vouchers and “home rule” during the special session on school finance set by Gov. Rick Perry to begin April 20.

“Private school vouchers take money out of public schools — exactly the opposite of what is needed when we are struggling to fund our neighborhood schools right now,” said Samantha Smoot, president of the Texas Freedom Network. “On top of that, abandoning the very quality education standards that have helped children achieve, and that were put in place by Ross Perot and George Bush, would put our children on the road to failure.”… Read More

TEA Commissioner Shirley Neeley Flip-Flops On Vouchers FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 29, 2004

AUSTIN, TX – New Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley made a 180-degree turn in her position on private school vouchers within weeks of her appointment by Governor Rick Perry.

“It was a surprise and disappointment this week when Neeley expressed support for the dangerous voucher scheme proposed by Governor Perry and special interests,” said Heather Alden, spokesperson for the Texas Freedom Network. “She has been a staunch opponent of the use of public money to pay tuition at private and religious schools.”

Alden said Neeley’s flip-flop on vouchers supports what had been reported by other candidates for the commissioner position: that Governor Perry would require his appointee as Education Commissioner to publicly support his controversial proposal for private school vouchers whether or not the individual thought it was good public policy.… Read More

Mainstream Texans Gather In Dallas To Proclaim Faith And Science Not In Conflict FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 3, 2003

Dallas, Texas In the midst of growing tension over the teaching of evolution, a group of mainstream Texans gathered in Dallas today to proclaim that faith and science are not in conflict.

Faith leaders, scientists, elected officials and other concerned Texans met to discuss the relationship between religion and science and the impact politics has on that relationship.

“One of the hallmarks of fundamentalist religious movements is an extreme distrust of modern culture, including science,” said Samantha Smoot, President of the Texas Freedom Network. “In their resistance to modern culture, some communities today insist on pitting science against religion in an effort to politicize both.”

“Some radical voices still wish to drive a wedge between religion and science for theological and political reasons,” added Ryan Valentine, Coordinator of the Texas Faith Network. “Outside of fundamentalist circles, however, ‘religion and science’ has replaced ‘religion versus science.’ In our science departments and congregations, the dialogue between theology and science is very much alive, challenging and enlightening both.”… Read More

Publishers Resist Political Pressure To Alter Biology Textbooks FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 29, 2003

Austin, Texas In this year’s battle over the teaching of evolution in public school science classrooms, publishers of Biology textbooks withstood a political push aimed at forcing them to rewrite the books. Now the controversy moves back to the State Board of Education, which will vote to approve or reject textbooks on November 6 and 7.

Yesterday the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the changes to Biology textbooks proposed by publishers in response to public testimony on the books.

Several organizations, led by the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based group dedicated to promoting “intelligent design,” have undertaken a well-funded campaign to pressure publishers to make the books more critical of the theory of evolution. Records released yesterday by TEA indicate the publishers resisted this push.

“In keeping with their commitment to provide students with the best possible science education, Biology textbook publishers have stood up to political pressure,” said Samantha Smoot, President of the Texas Freedom Network. “We applaud publishers for doing what’s right for Texas kids, despite the demands of far-right interest groups.”… Read More

Chuck Lindell

BREAKING: US judge tosses out Texas law limiting second-trimester abortions. #txlege

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