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

Sort of. From Associated Press:

Alabama is updating its decade-old science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change, topics that can still be controversial in the Bible Belt state.

Educators say the new rules — part of a major change that includes more experimentation and hands-on instruction and less lecturing — don’t require that students believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

But public school students will be required for the first time to understand the theory of evolution. And teachers will be required to address climate change, which wasn’t a focus the last time the state set science standards in 2005.

Unfortunately, Alabama still requires textbooks to cast doubt on evolution. From the same story:

Textbooks used in Alabama science classes have carried a disclaimer sticker for years stating that evolution is a “controversial theory,” not fact, and the new course of study doesn’t change the warnings, which were advocated by Christian conservatives.

Back in 2009, the State Board of Education in Texas approved new curriculum standards that creationists hoped would force publishers to include discredited arguments attacking evolution in their new textbooks. But the Texas Freedom… Read More

When we say the State Board of Education has made Texas a laughingstock, we’re not kidding. Sunday’s Doonesbury cartoon strip:

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Ever since the tragedy in South Carolina on June 17, when a 21-year-old suspect motivated by white supremacist beliefs shot and killed nine African-American worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, there has been a renewed attention on Confederate history and what caused the Civil War. We here at TFN have even received a number of press inquiries for our work in making sure Texas textbooks teach history accurately.

The thing is, there actually is no debating what caused the Civil War. It was slavery and the insistence of the Southern states to keep it.

Here, Colonel Ty Seidule, professor of history at the United States Military Academy at West Point, is out with a video that will make those who like to skew history to fit their agenda — looking at you, far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education — uncomfortable.

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The Wall Street Journal put up an editorial this week praising Gov. Greg Abbott for his appointment of Donna Bahorich to chair the Texas State Board of Education.

TFN was just one voicing concern over Bahorich’s appointment, in part because she “rejected public education for her own family” and home-schooled her children.

And here’s some of the logic the Journal used to praise the Bahorich appointment:

The Texas State Board of Education *IS* the board of public schools! The board does nothing else other than oversee the state’s public school system. If the board had authority over all education, as you seem to imply, then they would also have power to regulate home-schoolers, which, ironically, they don’t.

You can read the full WSJ opinion piece here.… Read More

Since the murder of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston last month and the renewed controversy over the Confederate flag that followed, we’ve seen a slew of stories about what public school textbooks teach about the Civil War. Very early on, we got a call from the Washington Post on this question. While that reporter generally did a good job explaining the nuances of the controversy in Texas, we’ve seen quite a few stories from other media outlets that haven’t quite hit the mark. So let’s set the record straight on some key questions.

In the first place, why would anyone outside the state care what Texas textbooks say about anything?

Because of the huge size of the Texas market, publishers have typically written their textbooks to conform to curriculum standards in this state and then also sold those textbooks in other states around the country. Technology, publishing methods and other factors have somewhat lessened the influence of Texas, but that influence remains strong. That’s largely a consequence of the economics of publishing.

So what’s the problem with the Texas curriculum standards?

Publishers write their textbooks to conform to curriculum standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), that are adopted by the State Board… Read More

Tx Freedom Network

The House State Affairs hearing today has been moved to room E2.028. #txlege

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