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TFN PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO NEWS ABOUT NEW TEXAS TEXTBOOK CONTROVERSY OVER SLAVERY, MIGRATION

Deeply Flawed and Politicized Textbook Adoption Process Makes This Controversy Unsurprising, Miller Says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 5, 2015

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller responded today to reports about how a new high school geography textbook mischaracterizes the slave trade as simply a migration of workers in American history:

“First of all, we are encouraged that the publisher is correcting this passage downplaying the history of slavery in the United States. But it’s no accident that this happened in Texas. We have a textbook adoption process that’s so politicized and so flawed that it’s become almost a punch line for comedians. The truth is that too many elected officials who oversee that process are less interested in accurate, fact-based textbooks than they are in promoting their own political views in our kids’ classrooms. So when they review these textbooks, they don’t even recognize distortions that mislead students and that drive scholars nuts.”

Miller’s comments come after publisher McGraw-Hill Education said that it will revise a passage in its new geography textbook that discusses migration in American history. The problematic passage refers to African slaves brought… Read More

NEW REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH & JUSTICE ‘ARTIVISM’ PROJECT LAUNCHES IN TEXAS

‘Illuminate RJ’ Uses Art to Communicate Reproductive Justice and Abortion Experiences

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 31, 2015

Illuminate RJ, a new project that uses art as activism to create a Texas-specific narrative about reproductive justice and abortion, launched in Austin today with an event that features poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor.

Illuminate RJ is a collaboration by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, Shift., and the NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Foundation. The groups say the goal of Illuminate RJ is to break the silence and start an open dialogue around abortion by working with communities around the state to share their experiences through an artistic lens.

“Art is a powerful medium that can motivate people to action and inspire change,” said Val Benavidez, outreach and field director of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. “In this case, we’re using it to share our experiences with the aim of lifting up the voices of Texans who wish to share their reproductive justice and abortion experiences.”

“Texans are hurting from the constant attacks on their access to reproductive health care, but they’re fighting back,” Heather Busby, executive director of the NARAL… Read More

TFN PRESIDENT EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT IN ABBOTT’S SBOE CHAIR CHOICE

Bahorich Appointment Almost Guarantees Continued Culture War Battles at SBOE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 18, 2015

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is expressing disappointment in Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision, announced today, to appoint State Board of Education member Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, as board chair:

“If Gov. Abbott wanted to demonstrate that he won’t continue his predecessor’s efforts to politicize and undermine our state’s public schools, this appointment falls far short. The governor has appointed as board chair an ideologue who voted to adopt new textbooks that scholars sharply criticized as distorting American history, who rejected public education for her own family and who supports shifting tax dollars from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools through vouchers. This appointment almost guarantees that the board will continue to put culture war agendas ahead of educating more than 5 million Texas kids.”

In 2013, her first year on the board, Bahorich voted against a resolution urging the Legislature to reject private school vouchers. Bahorich also homeschooled her three sons and then sent them to private and religious school. The board adopted controversial new social studies textbooks in 2014.

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The… Read More

EXTREMISTS UNDERMINED CHANCES FOR REAL PROGRESS IN TEXAS LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Tea Party Temper Tantrums Skewed Legislative Priorities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2015

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller issued the following statements on the end of the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature today:

On the effect of tea party extremists on the Legislature: “This session highlighted how tea party ideologues have slowed progress and skewed legislative priorities with scorched-earth tactics and extreme, uncompromising demands. Lawmakers wasted a lot of time on issues like guns, abortion and discriminating against gay and transgender Texans. Meanwhile, they failed to address truly serious problems that concern most Texas families, like underfunded public schools, lack of access to health care and the millions of dollars that anonymous special interests spend to influence our elections. That’s what happens when you try to please extremists who threaten and stomp their feet when they don’t get their way.

Tea party temper tantrums shouldn’t dictate legislative priorities. But they will until more Texans turn out at the polls and stop letting an extreme, vocal minority define what true Texas values are.”

On Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s failure to pass private school vouchers: “The only… Read More

TFN HAILS ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HOUSTON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION MEASURE

Passage of Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Marked Major Step Forward for Equality in Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 28, 2015

To mark today’s first anniversary of the Houston City Council’s passage of a comprehensive Equal Rights Ordinance, TFN President Kathy Miller issued the following statement:

“The passage of the Houston ordinance was a landmark moment in an ongoing campaign to ensure equality for all Texans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. No one should be fired from a job, evicted from their home or denied public services simply because of who they are or whom they love. All Texans should be equal under law.

This year Texas legislators filed more than 20 bills promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We look forward to the day when the Legislature instead follows the example of cities like Houston and protects all Texans from discrimination.”

Houston was the last major city in Texas to pass a comprehensive civil rights ordinance that includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as well as other characteristics such as race,… Read More

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