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Latest News

Two-Year Overhaul of Science Standards Saw Progress, but Pressure from Oil and Gas Interests Still Leaves Texas Far Behind Other States on Teaching about Climate Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUSTIN, Texas – The State Board of Education’s two-year overhaul of science standards that ended today offered another distressing example of how politics continues to trump teaching about science — and especially climate change — in Texas, Texas Freedom Network President Val Benavidez said.

“The progress we made on getting the state board to ensure that Texas schools teach students the full truth about climate change has been important, but that progress is uneven, not nearly enough and largely ignores the urgency of the matter,” Benavidez said. “Texas will still lag far behind most states in teaching students about what scientists warn is a serious and growing crisis. Tragically, this is yet another example of the ways in which political agendas and corporate interests in Texas continue to undermine the importance of educating our kids about the challenges they will inherit.”

The Texas state board gave final approval to science standards for Grades K-8 today. The board had already approved new standards for high school courses last year and earlier… Read More

State Board of Education Rejects Most Proposed Health Textbooks That Included Information on Sex Education Topics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas State Board of Education voted today to adopt new health textbooks from just one publisher after critics attacked all of the textbooks for content — even in optional units — that addressed topics related to sex education. Digital textbooks for elementary and middle school offered by three other publishers failed to win approval.

Rocio Fierro Pérez, political coordinator for Texas Freedom Network responded with the following:

“This week offered yet more evidence that politics continues to trump education and teaching the truth in Texas schools, even when it comes to the health and lives of our kids. The votes this week make clear that the Texas State Board of Education remains very much in the textbook censorship business. It’s frustrating to see the health and education of millions of Texas students continue to be held hostage to the politics of ignorance and exclusion.”

Background Following the board’s preliminary rejection Tuesday of all middle school and high school textbooks submitted for health classes in Texas, publishers on Wednesday offered a variety of changes in an effort… Read More

Some Republican Board Members Offer to Reconsider Before Friday Final Vote if Publishers Agree to Censor Their Textbooks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUSTIN, Texas – The State Board of Education’s move on Tuesday to reject all health textbooks proposed for middle and high school students in Texas represents a big step backward for responsible sex education and a shameful surrender to fearmongering, Texas Freedom Network President Val Benavidez said today.

“This is an educational dumpster fire,” Benavidez said. “Too many board members simply surrendered to extremists who see nothing but a conspiracy to sexualize students in a state where those students say they’re already having sex. Our youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ, need a truth- and science-based education that helps them make healthy life decisions. But we heard instead the same hyperbolic rhetoric and fearmongering that has dominated decisions by this dysfunctional board for decades.”

In a series of preliminary votes on Tuesday, the adoption of one high school and three middle school digital textbooks for health classes failed to win a needed majority. Nearly all Republicans on the GOP-dominated board opposed their adoption. Some Republicans who voted to reject the textbooks offered to reconsider if publishers censor sex… Read More

by TFN

Transgender Awareness Week takes place this week, Nov. 13-19. It is a week to uplift the trans community and their voices, and it’s a prelude to Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.

This year’s Trans Awareness Week comes at a difficult time in Texas that has highlighted the urgent need to raise awareness.

Since 2017, the Texas Legislature has shamelessly stigmatized transgender people by prioritizing discriminatory proposals solely targeted at the trans community, including the infamous so-called “bathroom bill.” Those past efforts thankfully failed. But unfortunately, legislators this year were successful in passing a law that will ban trans youth from participating in school sports.

There are various reasons why those bills have been proposed at the Capitol — including just plain politics — and one of them is a lack of general awareness of what transgender really means.

So for this year’s Trans Awareness Week, we would like to introduce you to a few trans voices in Texas. Hear from them about the challenges they face and what they hope for in the future.

 

 

 

Ash Hall (They/Them)

What are the biggest issues facing the trans community today? The trans community, especially in places… Read More

by TFN

By Marti Bier (they/them) TFN Director of Programs This past Sunday, a fire was set outside the sanctuary doors of my synagogue in Austin. Throughout the state this year, and particularly in the last few months, we have a seen a disturbing rise in antisemitic attacks. As a Jew and a Texan, I’m writing today on behalf of Texas Freedom Network to publicly denounce antisemitism and the acts of hate we’re seeing with increasing regularity in communities around Texas. Read More