Blogging the Social Studies Debateby
11:20 a.m. – The Texas State Board of Education meeting has just begun. The board will soon begin to hear public testimony on the proposed social studies curriculum standards for public schools. You can follow the action here and on the Texas Education Agency’s live Webstream. Meanwhile, here’s a photo of a press conference this morning by Students for a Smarter State Board of Education. This coalition of student groups, including the TFN Student Chapter, is calling on the state board to stop promoting political agendas over sound scholarship in the standards.
11:28 a.m. – Another photo (below) from the students’ press conference this morning.
11:30 a.m. – The board is wrapping up discussion of preliminary agenda items. The board is scheduled to hear two hours of public testimony before beginning formal debate and amendments of the proposed standards.
1 1:36 – For Pete’s sake. Board member Terri Leo, R-Spring, and David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, that the board is being gracious in extending the time for public testimony to two hours (instead of 30 minutes). Yes, how gracious for elected officials to take the time to listen to the concerns of their constituents. Perhaps someone should remind board members that they are public servants, not royalty who usually can ignore the peasants out there.
11:39 a.m. – Board member Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio, reminds the board that they should keep limit questions and comments so that more people who traveled to Austin can testify. Board member Lawrence Allen, D-Houston, asks that the board be flexible on how long the testimony will last and remember that people have traveled to Austin from around the state to speak about the standards. We should note here that the board cut off testimony in January even though dozens of people — including veterans in uniform — were still waiting to testify.
11:42 – State Rep. Wayne Christian, an East Texas Republican, is reading into the record a letter from the Texas Conservative Coalition. The letter insists that the standards continue to focus on the “Judeo-Christian heritage” of America. The letter claims that the board is being pressured to eliminate any discussion of “Judeo-Christian faiths.” There isn’t a shred of truth to that. The letter notes that the curriculum teams dropped Christmas from the standards. it doesn’t note that the curriculum writers chose Easter instead of Christmas as an example of a Christian holiday, but the Texas Conservative Coalition letter suggests that those curriculum writers are somehow anti-Christian. Really? Do they realize that Republican state board members appointed two-thirds of the more than 100 curriculum writers? Do they assume that the curriculum writers themselves are not Christians themselves? This is the kind of faith bashing we’ve come to expect from the right throughout this debate.
11:54 – If Rep. Christian thinks including Rosh Hashanah in the standards is so important (and we think it should be included, by the way), perhaps he could take the time to learn how to pronounce it correctly. TFN will post video of his testimony when we have it.