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Last year, the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to bar public funding for any private school voucher scheme. Apparently, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott didn’t get the memo.

Recently, TEA adopted a dropout prevention plan that would allow the agency “to fund nonprofit groups as an alternative [to public schools] to educate dropouts.”

Since Commissioner Scott missed, forgot or ignored the Legislature’s will, the Texas State Teachers Association is working to remind him via a court order.

“They couldn’t push vouchers through the Legislature in an aboveboard way,” said TSTA President Rita Haecker. “So they went through the back door to divert public dollars to private school programs, even though lawmakers warned them not to do so.”

It’s really no surprise that Scott is pushing vouchers — his former boss, Governor Rick Perry, has received a boatload of money from voucher sugardaddy James Leininger.… Read More

This video — of Focus on the Family‘s Stuart Shepard imploring the group’s followers to pray for a downpour of rain during Sen. Barack Obama’s outdoor acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Denver later this month — has really taken off since we ran it in today’s TFN Daily News Clips. From the blogs to the cable news!

Not saying we started it or anything.… Read More

Science writer Carl Zimmer has been having a back-and-forth with the Discovery Institute — the main group advocating inserting “intelligent design”/creationism into public school science classes.

As Zimmer illustrates by proving each of the Discovery Institute’s employees’ arguments incorrect, one could easily conclude that DI’s support of teaching students pseudo-science is based on the simple fact that they don’t understand basic science.

Watch for Discovery Institute folks pushing “intelligent design”/creationism (likely under the guise of teaching “strengths and weaknesses”) during this year’s State Board of Education review of science textbooks.… Read More

Is our Stand Up for Science campaign going viral on the Web?

Recently, our campaign to prevent the State Board of Education from torpedoing Texas schools’ science curriculum appeared on Current TV’s site in a story about the attempts by the board’s far-right faction to insert religion into the classroom.

Then, renowned biologist and outspoken “intelligent design” critic, PZ Meyers, reminded his readersย to Stand Up for Science by signing our petition to the SBOE.

Help us spread the word! Use the graphic above and link to our petition on your blog! Stand Up for Science!… Read More

It looks like Rick Scarborough, head of the Texas-based far-right group Vision America, is back on the stump preaching the merits of a politicized pulpit. But, judging by attendance at the most recent event held by Scarborough in Overland Park, near Kansas City, Mo., pastors may be tiring of this cynical game.

The Scarborough-designed event, billed as the “Crusade to Save America,” was held to give the Kansas county’s district attorney, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a podium from which to speak about his faith.

Kline is no stranger to far-right electioneering. As Kansas attorney general, he attempted to subpoena 90 women’s medical records and charged an abortion provider with more than 30 misdemeanors. The charges were thrown out hours later by a court.

Most troubling, though, is this:

In late September 2006, an internal election campaign memo from Kline to his campaign staff was leaked to the The Interfaith Alliance and quickly was picked up by bloggers, resulting in much discussion and controversy. In the memo, Kline tells his staff how to form a campaign committee for him at each church that will educate and register voters, “encourage… Read More

Texas Rising

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