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Far Right’s Changes To Textbooks Prompt Thousands Of Outraged Letters To State, Publishers Opposing Textbook Censorship FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 12, 2002

AUSTIN, TX Two days before the State Board of Education votes on proposed Social Studies texts, dozens of people gathered for a press conference on the steps of the Texas Capitol to protest changes made to those books by the Religious Right.

“We’re here today to deliver literally thousands of postcards from Texas parents, educators, businesspeople, students, religious leaders and people from every walk of life who oppose the far right’s effort to censor needed information from Texas textbooks,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors the Religious Right.

The postcards were sent from people across Texas and addressed to State Board of Education members, Education Commissioner Felipe Alanis, textbooks publishers, and legislators, with a message urging them to fight textbook censorship.

“Mainstream Texans have had enough of far-right groups pushing their personal religious and political beliefs into Texas public school classrooms,” said Smoot.

Susan Moffat, whose 5th grade daughter attends Lee Elementary in Austin, told the crowd gathered why she got involved in the textbook review process this year.… Read More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 15, 2002

Austin, TX The State Board of Education today made its final vote to adopt proposed Social Studies textbooks that critics say have been substantially revised by Religious Right groups.

Critics challenge that many changes made to the books adopted today do not simply correct factual errors, as state law proscribes, but make radical content changes that promote the personal religious and political beliefs of a few groups.

Changes made at the request of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy members, for example, will delete passages that describe Islam positively and add text on the appeal of Christianity, eliminate scientific dates so as not to conflict with Biblical timelines, delete sections on other cultures, and eliminate critical thinking exercises that discuss social issues.

Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that counters the Religious Right, said these changes have harmed the integrity of the textbooks adopted today.

“We now have textbooks missing scientific dates for events like the Ice Age because these groups didn’t want ancient geological events to predate Biblical timelines,” said Smoot. “We now have books that gloss over America’s role in slavery because… Read More

Publishers Make Creationist, Anti-Muslim Changes To Pass Religious Right Litmus Test FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 28, 2002

Austin, TX Texas textbook publishers have made public the changes they agreed to make to Social Studies texts in response to comments during this year’s public hearing process.

Changes made at the request of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy members, for example, will delete passages that describe Islam positively, eliminate scientific dates so as not to conflict with Biblical timelines, delete sections on other cultures, and eliminate critical thinking exercises that discuss social issues.

The changes have drawn criticism from a watchdog group concerned that publishers are censoring material to pass what they call a Religious Right litmus test.

“These are not changes called for by the mainstream public, but by a handful of religious extremists,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group that monitors public education issues.… Read More

Faith-Based Initiative Reaps Bitter Fruit In Texas FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 10, 2002

Washington, DC As the Bush administration moves forward with a sweeping overhaul of faith-based social service programs, new evidence from his similar initiatives as Texas Governor shows disturbing consequences, according to a report issued today by Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.

When Governor of Texas, George W. Bush launched an aggressive campaign to deregulate faith-based providers and increase the financial resources made available to faith-based programs. Critics say the state’s five-year record with the Bush Faith-Based Initiative has been devastating.

Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, said, “What’s been a disaster in Texas can only be a disaster for the nation. The Texas record is as devastating as it is illuminating, and that’s why the Bush administration is sweeping it under the rug.” As national policymakers debate the Faith-Based Initiative, folks from Texas say they already know and the nation should be wary.

“Five years into the Faith-Based Initiative, the Texas program is unregulated, prone to favoritism and co-mingling of funds, and has proven to jeopardize the well-being of the very people it is supposed to serve.” Smoot added.… Read More

Mainstream Texans Outraged At Textbook Censorship And Book Banning; Citizens Testify To Counter Religious Right FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 23, 2002

Austin, TX Mainstream Texans came to Austin to testify today, saying publishers and the State Board of Education must hear from more diverse perspectives than they have in the past.

Many witnesses criticized efforts by Religious Right groups that urge textbooks to teach more about Christianity and traditional gender roles, and to cut “unpatriotic” content about slavery and discrimination.

“Most Texans are incensed by efforts to push the personal religious and political beliefs of a select few into schoolbooks used by all Texas children,” said Ashley McIlvain, Political Director of the Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group that monitors public education issues.

Publishers and the Board heard from a number of people today asking them not to succumb to pressure from Religious Right groups like Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy and Texas Public Policy Foundation.… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

The Week in Quotes (Dec. 3 – 9) bit.ly/2AHrZwd

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