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

With all of the damage culture warriors on the State Board of Education have done — or tried to do — to the education of Texas public school students in their science and history classrooms, it can be easy to forget what they’ve also done on sex education. Today the online news magazine Slate posted the above video, which examines how two high school health textbooks from the same publisher address sex education — one submitted for adoption in Texas in 2004 and the other a decade earlier. That abstinence-only textbook from 2004, which doesn’t include a shred of information on contraception, remains in classrooms today.

Slate focused this video on the health textbooks from just one publisher, Holt, Rinehart and Winston. But publisher Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s health textbooks were also abstinence-only. Holt and Glencoe essentially split the Texas health textbook market between them in 2004-05.

The State Board of Education hasn’t set an adoption date for the next generation of health textbooks for Texas public schools. We’re likely about five years away, at least. Meanwhile, Texas has the  one of the highest teen birth rates among the nation’s 50 states — the fifth highest, in fact, as of 2013. And the Texas Legislature still refuses to encourage school districts… Read More

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

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