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 to 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.

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The Latest on Textbook Censorship

If anyone still doubts the extremism of the faction that controls the Texas State Board of Education, then read this from board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. It’s one thing when the occasional fringe lunatic barfs up mindless smears and drivel. It’s quite another thing when a duly elected official of the State Board of Education accuses a major presidential candidate of being a traitor to his nation:

We have been clearly warned by his running mate, Joe Biden, that America will suffer some form of attack within the first 6 months of Obama’s administration.  However, unlike Joe, I do not believe this “attack” will be a test of Obama’s mettle.  Rather, I perceive it will be a planned effort by those with whom Obama truly sympathizes to take down the America that is threat to tyranny.  What nobody seems to be discussing is the fact that if such an attack takes place, what about Martial Law?  What happens to expand executive power when a state of civil disorder is declared?

You can read the rest for yourself, but Dunbar goes on to say that Obama, if elected, will impose martial law to expand… Read More

It appears that Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-BeaumontBuna, is hoping religious bigotry will help him win re-election. The 12-year incumbent is circulating a flier that suggests his Democratic opponent, Laura Ewing of Friendswood, wants to — pass the smelling salts, please — teach social studies students about Islam. The flier explains that Ewing joined other social studies educators on a trip to Africa and India and asks: “Do you know what the Democrat for State Board of Education supports?” The flier implies that Ewing — that evildoer — was using the trip to help develop a curriculum that includes the study of Islamic history and culture. Actually, she was. The state’s curriculum standards for social studies — passed by the state board shortly after Bradley joined it in 1997 — require that students learn about the world’s major religions and cultures. And the trip, as Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg explains today, was made possible through the support of the state’s Republican governor, Rick Perry. Falkenberg writes:

It’s easy to dismiss Bradley’s campaign handout as dirty campaigning with an unusually bigoted bent. . . . But the campaign piece represents more… Read More

This year the far-right faction that controls the Texas State Board of Education has been even more contemptuous of teachers and the law than in the past. Now it appears that in addition to bullying teachers, David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, may have a history of threatening at least one fellow board member.

Some of the board’s right-wingers — especially Bradley — have bullied teachers who dare come before them with suggestions and concerns about what our public schools should be teaching Texas children. This week the Examiner, a Southeast Texas newspaper, revealed that Cynthia Thornton, a former board member — and a fellow Republican — claims Bradley bullied and threatened her when she served on the board. As a result, Thornton says, the Texas Education Agency had to post armed security at board meetings.

“To make a long story short, every year it got worse and worse between Bradley and I, and everybody in Austin was watching the show. And I decided I’m not going to put up with this stuff and I flat told him off. The first time he grabbed me was when I made it plain that what he… Read More

Gail Lowe, a member of the far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education, has demonstrated once again her true agenda for public schools.

The State Board of Education is responsible for developing curriculum standards and approving textbooks that help our kids succeed in school and prepare them for college and the jobs of the 21st century. Lowe, R-Lampasas, appears to see the state board as simply another avenue for promoting her own personal and political agendas. As reported by the Graham Leader:

[All emphasis here is ours.]

Gail Lowe, Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education, told the Young County Republican Women she will continue to fight for conservative values Monday.

How about fighting for a good education for Texas kids instead of a political agenda for ideologues?

Lowe said her core values are to fight for strong curriculum standards, insure a thorough textbook adoption process, exercise prudent financial management and represent traditional values in education.

Traditional values? Like censoring textbooks? No thanks.

On the topic of certain books, Lowe said she is opposed to those exposing children to alternative lifestyles such as Heather Has Two Mommies in schools.… Read More

Oh, Kansas. Why must you share our suffering so?

As Texans with our own dysfunctional and often wacky State Board of Education, it’s easy for us to sympathize with Kansans, who are facing elections to their own tenuously sane state board this year.

Unfortunately, Kansans won’t have many of the moderates currently leading the board to re-elect, as they are stepping down — and far-right politicians and interest groups are ravenous to regain control by picking up the moderates’ seats.

Out of the five seats up for election this year (the board is composed of ten members total), two races have candidates who are explicitly far to the right of the mainstream: Republicans Dennis Hedke, Alan Detrich and Robert Meissner (who’s a dentist; what’s with dentists on state boards of education?). Hedke is involved with the conservative Americans for Prosperity’s tour touting “global warming alarmism.” Meissner is . . . well, let’s just let him speak for himself:

“As stated in the past, if the science community can come to a consensus as to the scientific credibility of alternative theories as to origin, then I would… Read More

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