It was, in a twisted way, a remarkable performance. In long, rambling testimony before the House Public Education Committee today, the chairman of the State Board of Education displayed a stunning disregard for facts, teachers and the will of the Legislature. Proclaiming that "Texans should be very proud of its education board," board chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, effectively thumbed his nose at a legion of angry teachers sitting in audience. Those teachers had come to tell committee members how very little they agree with that sentiment (although McLeroy left the hearing before they testified). Then McLeroy tap danced around pointed questions regarding the board's refusal so far to obey a legislative requirement to develop new, specific curriculum standards for public school classes about the Bible's influence in history and literature. Read More
The board has been taking fire from committee members and teachers over its mishandling of the revision of language arts curriculum standards this spring. TFN Deputy Director Ryan Valentine will be testifying about the state board’s abuse of legislative limits on its authority.
Fighting for Progressive Values in Texas (Friday, 1:30 p.m.)
What Ever Happened to the Religious Left? (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
We look forward to seeing you there!… Read More
We told you on Monday that the House Public Education Committee had scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. this morning about the State Board of Education. Ryan Valentine, the Texas Freedom Network's deputy director, is testifying for TFN today. Here's an excerpt: Over the past 13 years, and especially in the past 12 months, we have watched the state board’s focus on educating Texas schoolchildren become diverted with unnecessary and divisive debates over politics and the personal agendas of some of its members. The board has become increasingly dysfunctional. Its important work has become bogged down and undermined by secretive political maneuvering that is arrogantly disrespectful of teachers, of established rules and open processes, and even of the law itself. Read More
The political antics of the far-right faction that now controls the Texas State Board of Education has been attracting a lot of attention in the press. The faction has managed to make work on everything from adopting mathematics textooks to revising language arts and science curriculum standards strained and controversial. Unnecessary fights over those and other issues have undermined progress on the increasingly dysfunctional board.
This weekend the Houston Chronicle published a scathing editorial that scorched the board for undermining efforts to protect the religious freedom of students in public school elective classes about the Bible’s influence in history and literature:
In its 2007 session, the Texas Legislature managed to do something remarkable. It passed a broadly supported bill that allows school districts to develop academically rigorous courses on the Bible as literature, and it included carefully crafted safeguards to prevent schools from using the classes to teach religion or proselytize.
It took many hours of hard work and negotiation by members of the House Committee on Public Education to amend a bill written by Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, which sought to make the Bible classes mandatory for every school… Read More