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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

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

Open Letter Comes as Board Nears Final Vote on First Major Overhaul of Science Standards in 12 Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 4, 2021

AUSTIN, Texas – Dozens of Texas scientists who study and teach about climate change have signed on to an open letter calling on the State Board of Education to improve on the abysmal coverage of climate change in science standards that guide what 5.5 million public school students learn in the state’s classrooms yearly.

The state board has a responsibility to ensure that public schools equip students with the information they need to understand a serious problem they will inherit, said Andrew Dessler, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Reta A. Haynes Chair in Geosciences at Texas A&M University, who was one of 67 signers of the letter.

“The scientific evidence is overwhelming that, thanks to human activity, our world is experiencing rapid and severe climate change, with increasingly volatile and destructive weather events all over the globe,” Dessler said. “Teaching about climate change doesn’t just prepare students to succeed in college-level work if they choose to further their education after high school. It also helps students become informed voters who understand the stakes and can… Read More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 2, 2021

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Rising Action, the youth organizing arm of the Texas Freedom Network, today congratulated Austin voters for seeing right through the Republican-front group Save Austin Now and rejecting Austin’s Proposition A at the ballot box.

Texas Rising Action Senior Director Rae Martinez released the following statement:

“The campaign to trick voters into approving Prop. A was driven by the disinformation of a group of political activists whose real goal was to pit Austinites against one another. It failed because Austin voters knew better than to buy the propaganda, and we congratulate them for it. City governments across the country have rightfully asked themselves some tough questions about how to properly fund police while truly protecting the health and safety of all of their residents. Those are questions that require an ongoing conversation that we should and must have. What everyone can see now is that political stunts like Prop. A are not an answer.”

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Texas Rising Action, a project of the Texas Freedom Network, builds the power of a rising generation of young Texans, with an emphasis on communities of color, by advocating for change… Read More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 31, 2021

AUSTIN – Today, after months of advocacy to stop Governor Abbott and state leaders’ attempts to suppress the vote, Senate Bill 1 passed out of the Texas House and Texas Senate onto the Governor’s desk.

Texas Freedom Network’s President and Executive Director Val Benavidez Issued the Following Statement:

“It is heartbreaking that state leadership would spend so much time, energy, and resources passing a bill making it harder for younger, Black, Brown, and disabled Texans to vote, but we will not be deterred. While Gov. Abbott and Dade Phelan spent the past few months toying with our rights, this is an important moment to recognize the heroism of the advocates and activists who fought hard for the future of our democracy. For months now, activists throughout the state have spoken up in defense of our right to vote and the world has listened.

“Despair is not an option, nor is denial. The proper response to these draconian measures is the steely resolve to wage the fight of our lives. The Texas Freedom Network is fired up and ready to go.”

Texas Rising Director Rae Martinez added:

“We’re not giving up just yet. For… Read More