With a public school enrollment of more than 5 million, Texas has an increasingly diverse public education system. Unfortunately, that public education system is also the target of politicians seeking to privatize our neighborhood public schools and push a culture-war agenda in the classroom.

To that end, the Texas Freedom Network – while continuing to fight private school voucher legislation at the Capitol – has conducted groundbreaking research into what is being taught in classrooms on subjects like sex education and religion.

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The Latest on Education

Proposed Bill on Bible Classes Could Endanger Religious Freedom

Public Schools also Face Legal Jeopardy if Legislation Passes with No Amendments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 3, 2007

Proposed legislation mandating that every Texas public high school offer courses on the Bible could threaten the religious freedom of students and put school districts in legal jeopardy, academics and advocates of religious liberty said today.

Legislators should make sure teachers and school administrators have the guidance and resources to teach classes on the Bible in a way that respects the faiths of all families in the district, said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network.

“What schools need is help, not another mandate,” Miller said. “But this bill just lets politicians grandstand with the Bible while school administrators are left trying to maneuver through the minefields of the culture wars. You can almost see the lawyers lining up.”

The House Public Education Committee is scheduled to hear testimony today on House Bill 1287 by state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa. The bill would require the state’s nearly 1,700 public high schools to offer courses on the Bible. A 2006 study for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund… Read More

Chisum Launches Attack On Evolution

Appropriations Chairman Should Focus on Budget, Not Culture Wars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 14, 2007

The second most powerful member of the Texas House should refocus his efforts on passing a good state budget, not promoting fringe ideas that would embarrass the state and threaten the education of our schoolchildren, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“The House is in danger of becoming a breeding ground for fringe ideas instead of a body for serious lawmaking,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Does Rep. Chisum really believe that our children should learn that the earth stands still while the rest of the universe revolves around it? The fact that we are even discussing this should be alarming to all Texans.”

Extremists have targeted the theory of evolution in a number of states. Just yesterday, the Kansas Board of Education repealed curriculum guidelines that attacked the theory of evolution and promoted creationism in science classes. That action was in direct response to the rout anti-evolution extremists suffered at the polls last November. Ironically, we learned today that state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, circulated a memo that would take Texas in… Read More

Proposed Bill Favors Deeply Flawed Bible Curriculum in Texas Public Schools

Students Deserve Quality Materials, not Ideological Agendas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 7007

Proposed legislation directing Texas public schools to offer elective Bible classes appears to favor the developers of a deeply flawed and controversial curriculum, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

House Bill 1287 by state Rep. Warren Chisum makes the Bible the textbook for such courses, an approach favored by the North Carolina-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS). That provision would eliminate competition from a nationally marketed textbook from the Bible Literacy Project, as well as other curricula. The provision is similar to controversial legislation the NCBCPS helped draft and win passage for in Georgia last year.

“Bible courses are a wonderful way to teach students about the importance of religion in history and literature,” Miller said. “But students deserve quality instructional materials that are based on the best scholarship, not an ideological or religious agenda. Yet Rep. Chisum’s bill appears to favor a curriculum that fails that test.”

The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund has released two reports about public school Bible courses. The 2005 report revealed that… Read More

The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s 2005 report on a flawed Bible curriculum being marketed in public schools in Texas and the rest of the country raised an important question: Just what do Texas public schools tell their students about the Bible? To find the answer, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund surveyed all of the the state’s more than 1,000 public school districts. The results of this ground-breaking research have revealed serious problems in most Bible courses offered in Texas public schools. The report also offers school districts recommendations about how to create courses that are academically, ethically and legally appropriate.

Read the Report: Reading, Writing & Religion: Teaching the Bible in Texas Public Schools (PDF)… Read More

Is Odessa the Next Dover?

West Texas school board adopts controversial Bible curriculum denounced by legal and Biblical scholars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 21, 2005

AUSTIN On the same day a federal judge ruled that the attempt by the Dover school board to inject their own religious faith into public school classrooms was unconstitutional, an Ector County school board decision may have repeated the same error.

The Ector County ISD was repeatedly warned by legal experts and Biblical scholars about flaws in the curriculum produced by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS). Despite those warnings, and over the objections of parents, clergy and local curriculum experts, the Board voted (4-2) last night to adopt the NCBCPS curriculum for use in Ector County schools beginning next fall.

“For those who don’t know how this story will end, the federal judge in the Dover case provided a preview, “said TFN President Kathy Miller. “The NCBCPS curriculum clearly promotes one religious viewpoint over all others. By adopting this curriculum, the Ector County school board decided it is their responsibility to interpret the Bible for kids, a role we believe is best left to parents and… Read More

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