Board Chairman Recklessly Throws Away Two Years of Work, Taxpayer Dollars on Curriculum Revision
McLeroy Breathes New Life into One Person’s Misguided Crusade
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2008
The State Board of Education’s chairman is recklessly disregarding two years of work by teachers and education experts to promote one person’s misguided crusade to overhaul the state’s language arts curriculum, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.
“The chairman is ready to cast aside two years of hard work at considerable expense to taxpayers to buy into a crusade peddled by one person unsuccessfully for the last decade,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “And he is trying to do this with a last-minute bait-and-switch, offering a curriculum document that the board, parents and teachers haven’t even discussed. The arrogance is breath-taking.”
Chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, said yesterday that he will ask the full board on Wednesday to reject a proposed revision of the state’s language arts curriculum developed by teachers and curriculum experts over the past two years. In addition to other costs, the Texas Education Agency is paying $85,000 to an outside facilitator who has helped develop that draft of the new standards.
McLeroy said he will ask the board to approve an alternative curriculum that the board and then-Gov. George Bush’s education commissioner, Mike Moses, rejected more than 10 years ago as too rigid and specific. Education gadfly Donna Garner has promoted the document since 1997, when the board adopted the current curriculum standards. McLeroy sent Garner’s document to board members just a few days ago.
In e-mails to supporters, Garner suggests that her standards are the solution to a host of ills in public schools. She is particularly critical of the use of “multicultural authors” in classes, contemporary literature she judges as inappropriate, and a perceived promotion of the “gay lifestyle.” Her proposed standards include specific reading lists, an approach curriculum experts last year advised state board members to avoid.
Textbooks and state tests are based on the curriculum standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS. The state board is currently revising all of the state’s curriculum standards, starting with language arts. The board will take up science standards later this year.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who advance a mainstream agenda supporting public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.