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Bush Faith-Based Action Follows Disastrous Texas Model FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 12, 2002
Washington, DC As President Bush turned to executive orders today to implement much of his beleaguered Faith-Based Initiative, advocates from his home state say the same approach had disastrous consequences in Texas.In a report released earlier this year, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund detailed the negative results of the Faith-Based Initiative developed by then-Governor George W. Bush, which has served as the model for his national Faith-Based Initiative.
The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund points out that, at both the national and state level, George W. Bush has:
· Directed key government agencies to increase contracting with faith-based social service providers; · Diverted public funds to religious social service programs; · Deregulated certain faith-based providers; · Established an advisory body to shepherd his initiative through the public policy process and brainstorm ways of bolstering faith-based programs; · Created faith-based offices or liaisons within key government agencies to review agency policies, identify perceived ‘regulatory barriers,’ and increase faith-based partnerships; and · Promoted the Faith-Based Initiative through both legislative and regulatory means.… Read More
Far Right’s Changes To Textbooks Prompt Thousands Of Outraged Letters To State, Publishers Opposing Textbook Censorship FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 12, 2002
AUSTIN, TX Two days before the State Board of Education votes on proposed Social Studies texts, dozens of people gathered for a press conference on the steps of the Texas Capitol to protest changes made to those books by the Religious Right.
“We’re here today to deliver literally thousands of postcards from Texas parents, educators, businesspeople, students, religious leaders and people from every walk of life who oppose the far right’s effort to censor needed information from Texas textbooks,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors the Religious Right.
The postcards were sent from people across Texas and addressed to State Board of Education members, Education Commissioner Felipe Alanis, textbooks publishers, and legislators, with a message urging them to fight textbook censorship.
“Mainstream Texans have had enough of far-right groups pushing their personal religious and political beliefs into Texas public school classrooms,” said Smoot.
Susan Moffat, whose 5th grade daughter attends Lee Elementary in Austin, told the crowd gathered why she got involved in the textbook review process this year.… Read More
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2002
Austin, TX The State Board of Education today made its final vote to adopt proposed Social Studies textbooks that critics say have been substantially revised by Religious Right groups.
Critics challenge that many changes made to the books adopted today do not simply correct factual errors, as state law proscribes, but make radical content changes that promote the personal religious and political beliefs of a few groups.
Changes made at the request of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy members, for example, will delete passages that describe Islam positively and add text on the appeal of Christianity, eliminate scientific dates so as not to conflict with Biblical timelines, delete sections on other cultures, and eliminate critical thinking exercises that discuss social issues.
Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that counters the Religious Right, said these changes have harmed the integrity of the textbooks adopted today.
“We now have textbooks missing scientific dates for events like the Ice Age because these groups didn’t want ancient geological events to predate Biblical timelines,” said Smoot. “We now have books that gloss over America’s role in slavery because… Read More
Publishers Make Creationist, Anti-Muslim Changes To Pass Religious Right Litmus Test FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 28, 2002
Austin, TX Texas textbook publishers have made public the changes they agreed to make to Social Studies texts in response to comments during this year’s public hearing process.
Changes made at the request of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy members, for example, will delete passages that describe Islam positively, eliminate scientific dates so as not to conflict with Biblical timelines, delete sections on other cultures, and eliminate critical thinking exercises that discuss social issues.
The changes have drawn criticism from a watchdog group concerned that publishers are censoring material to pass what they call a Religious Right litmus test.
“These are not changes called for by the mainstream public, but by a handful of religious extremists,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group that monitors public education issues.… Read More
Faith-Based Initiative Reaps Bitter Fruit In Texas FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 10, 2002
Washington, DC As the Bush administration moves forward with a sweeping overhaul of faith-based social service programs, new evidence from his similar initiatives as Texas Governor shows disturbing consequences, according to a report issued today by Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.
When Governor of Texas, George W. Bush launched an aggressive campaign to deregulate faith-based providers and increase the financial resources made available to faith-based programs. Critics say the state’s five-year record with the Bush Faith-Based Initiative has been devastating.
Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, said, “What’s been a disaster in Texas can only be a disaster for the nation. The Texas record is as devastating as it is illuminating, and that’s why the Bush administration is sweeping it under the rug.” As national policymakers debate the Faith-Based Initiative, folks from Texas say they already know and the nation should be wary.
“Five years into the Faith-Based Initiative, the Texas program is unregulated, prone to favoritism and co-mingling of funds, and has proven to jeopardize the well-being of the very people it is supposed to serve.” Smoot added.… Read More