Textbook Censorship

The Texas State Board of Education decides what every student in Texas public schools will learn from kindergarten through high school. The board does so by adopting curriculum standards and textbooks for public schools in the state.

For decades, politicians on the State Board of Education and their activist allies have taken advantage of this flawed system to dismiss the advice of experts and scholars. They have instead worked tod inject their personal views into textbooks on everything from evolution and climate change to the history of slavery, civil rights and separation of church and state.

Resources

The State Board of Education: Dragging Texas Schools into the Culture Wars (2008 report)

Evolution, Creationism & Public Schools: Surveying Texas Scientists (2008 report)

Culture Wars and the Classroom (2010 report)

Senate Bill 6: Changes in the Textbook Adoption Process (2011 report)

Texas Science Curriculum Standards: Challenges (2012 report)

Science Textbook Review (2013 report)

Social Studies Textbook Review (2014 report)

In the Texas Freedom Network’s nearly 14 years of existence, we have seen plenty of nonsense come out of the Texas State Board of Education. Board members have attacked health textbooks for including even basic information on contraception and photographs of women in professional careers (rather than sufficiently promoting stay-at-home moms as the ideal). They have criticized social studies textbooks for not portraying Muslims and their religion as, apparently, somehow depraved and evil. They have demanded, to the dismay of classroom teachers, that language arts classes return to the teaching strategies of the past to deal with the challenges of today. They insisted that the board withdraw from the National Association of State Boards of Education because that organization dared to support efforts to protect gay and lesbian students from bullying and harassment. (In fact, some board members seem to be obsessed with exposing the “homosexual agenda” –whatever that is — in Texas public schools.) The list goes on and on. Now, of course, the state board has turned its attention to revising public school science standards and to an ideological crusade promoting state-imposed challenges to evolution.

TFN’s Web site has put together a listRead More

It appears that Texas lawmakers are beginning to look at ways to rein in an out-of-control State Board of Education. Today state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, pre-filed a bill for the coming legislative session that would make state board elections nonpartisan.

Recent controversies make clear the need to take ideology and partisanship out of races for the state board, Rep. Howard said in a press release announcing her proposed legislation, House Bill 420:

The current system is obviously not working as well as our students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers deserve. SBOE districts are some of the geographically largest districts in the state, yet these races attract little public attention and candidates have a hard time raising money to communicate their message.  Voters go to the polls armed with minimal information on the issues and end up casting their ballot based on party affiliation.  It’s time to encourage candidates to run more independently so voters can make informed decisions.

Rep. Howard, who won election to the House in 2006 in part because of her strong support for public education, pointed to extreme partisan and ideological statements made recently by state board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. As TFN Insider readers… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, made news last month when she charged that President-elect Barack Obama “truly sympathizes” with enemies out to destroy America. Now guess what Dunbar has to say about the public education system she helps govern.

From a Texas Freedom Network press release today:

In her book, One Nation Under God (Onward, 2008), Dunbar (on p. 100) calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” She charges that the establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical” because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children (p. 103) Dunbar, who has home-schooled her children and sent them to private schools, bases that charge on her belief that “the underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents.” (p. xv)

“Even if you question the accuracy of my constitutional interpretation as proof of the inappropriateness of a state-created, tax-payer supported school system, still the Scriptures bear witness to such an institution’s lack of proper authority in the life of the Christian family,” Dunbar writes (p. 102).

TFN President Kathy Miller questioned why… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, isn’t the only elected official who believes President-elect Barack Obama is a Marxist. A Republican congressman from Georgia, Paul Broun, apparently agrees that, by golly, he just might be a commie. He says a general proposal Sen. Obama made during the campaign to create a civilian force for protecting national security is just what the Soviet Union did.

“It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force. I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.”

He’s right, of course. He does sound crazy. But it gets worse. Congressman Broun apparently also worries that Sen. Obama is a Nazi. Really. He says Sen. Obama will ban gun ownership if he does create a civilian national security force during his administration.

“We can’t be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to… Read More

The firestorm over Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar’s vicious Internet rant against President-elect Barack Obama is growing. Blogs ranging from Daily Kos to the Texas Observer and points in between are calling out Dunbar’s venomous charge (among others) that Obama is a traitor who “truly sympathizes” with enemies out to destroy America. Dunbar also questioned Obama’s American citizenship and his legal eligibility to serve as president, and she warned that he will try to grab more power by declaring martial law as president. The Austin American-Statesman this weekend published a scathing editorial calling Dunbar “a disgrace to public education and an embarrassment to Texas.”

It appears that the Christian Worldview Network Web site has now taken down Dunbar’s outrageous diatribe. But it’s still available at Just Orb, God bless ’em. (In an earlier essay on another Web site, Dunbar suggested that Obama is a Marxist.)… Read More

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