First State Ed Board Bill Passes Texas Lege

On Friday the Texas Senate passed legislation that requires live video and audio Webcasts of State Board of Education meetings. House Bill 772 by state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, is the only bill that focuses on the controversy-plagued state board to have now passed both the House and Senate. Currently, Texans can follow board meetings only by audio on the Web, although legislative proceedings — committee meetings and well as House and Senate floor action — have been available to voters by live video streamed over the Internet. Many supporters of HB 772 hope video Webcasting will help voters learn more about how the state board crafts education policy for Texas public schools. If Gov. Rick Perry signs the bill, the Webcasting requirement will take effect Sept. 1 of this year.

Other SBOE reform legislation is still languishing in committee. HB 2037 and HJR 77 (a constitutional amendment) would shift authority over the Permanent School Fund from the state board to an appointed board of finance professionals. Both measures, also authored by Rep. Howard, have passed the House but are now sitting in the Senate Education Committee. Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, has scheduled neither for a public hearing or vote. Sen. Shapiro also hasn’t set Senate Bill 2275 for a committee vote. SB 2275 — with three Republican and two Democratic co-authors in the Senate — would strip the state board of its authority over setting curriculum standards and adopting textbooks.

The Senate Nominations Committee is still sitting on the confirmation of Don McLeroy, R-College Station, as chairman of the state board. Word is that Senate Democrats remain almost solidly opposed to his confirmation and have been joined privately by at least a few Republicans. If the Senate doesn’t confirm McLeroy by the end of the session on June 1, Gov. Perry will be forced to name another chairman. Unfortunately, that chairman would not be subject to confirmation until the Senate is again in session. Barring a special session, the Senate will not be back in Austin until January 2011.

4 thoughts on “First State Ed Board Bill Passes Texas Lege

  1. “Good News” would be that Perry had seen the light and had nominated Bob Craig, an intelligent and informed Republican who hasn’t felt it necessary to turn his back on science as an affirmation of his faith. This would bring needed unity to the party in Texas but Perry seems to be running scared.

  2. Running scared? He should be. People in general have finally figured out that the current Republican Party is run by extremists of many kinds—some in need of serious mental health services. I’m an old guy pushing towards 60. For you young ones out there who might not have been around to experience the history I have experienced, you might want to take a listen to what I have to say here. I will explain it in simple language anyone can understand.

    These assorted right-wing crazies and extremists were floating about in American society way back to the end of World War II and even before that in some form. They tended to sequester themselves into small organizations such as the John Birch Society, Ku Klux Klan, television preacher organizations, etc. With perhaps some few exceptions here and there, ordinary people like you and me stayed away from them because we thought they were harmless nuts and that they would remain harmless nuts as long as they stayed in their little group meetings in peoples homes or out in the fields. I do not remember any major political party latching onto these groups and claiming them as “our guys.” In the parlance of the times, nearly everyone knew that they had “cooties,” and no one wanted to associate with them and contract their own case of “cooties.”

    Viet-Nam war. Hippies. Watergate. High gas prices. Lousy economy. Iran hostages. Evil empire. Things looked pretty dark back then. My wife and I were in college and worried to death about the soaring price of ground beef—not to mention Avacado Green, Harvest Yellow, and Chili Red. Our traditional progressive leadership of those times (both Republican and Democrat) had seemingly failed us. At that moment, the right-wing extremists stepped out of their home parlor meetings, crossburnings, rural tent revivals, and so forth—and spoke up.

    They said, “We can fix all of this for you.”

    We said, “Oh no. I don’t think so. You guys are nuts!!!”

    They said, “We know you think we are nuts, but we really can.”

    We said, We-l-l-l-l-l?

    They said (and this was the killer), “How do you know? No one has ever tried what we advocate. Give us a chance.”

    We said, “Well, the reason we never gave you a chance is because you people are clearly nuts. But okay.”

    We elected Ronald Reagan President of the United States. I supported Ronald Reagan in 1980. The right-wing nuts rushed to support Reagan. They apparently thought or (more likely had been duped into thinking) that he was one of them. In my opinion, he really was not one of them, and he did not govern like one of them. You will note that he negotiated with Gorbachev rather than giving the whole planet a nuclear enema. As Louis XVI said, “Apres moi, le deluge!!” While Reagan was governing fairly sensibly, the Republican Party beneath him was degenerating into a magnet for every stripe of American fruitcake you can imagine. In one way or another, they let sensible Republicans like Howard Baker, Jr. and “Tincy” Miller know that their kind of Republican’s day was over and that they could either leave or stay in the party and keep quiet. I think most tried to stay in the party and keep fairly quiet—until things got so bad they started leaving in recent years.

    Well, to make a long story shorter, the fruitcake fringe took over the Republican Party with a vengeance by 1994, and it was straight downhill from there. Up to that time, Reagan, the elder Bush, and their associates had managed to keep them from harming themselves and burning their parents’ houses down while playing with matches. With the fruitcakes firmly in control of the Republican Party from the top down, that was no longer posssible. They fruitcakes finally had the power they had always sought, and they proceeded to do to America what we ordinary Americans were always a afraid they would do. Run it into the ground. Well, here we sit folks. A big part of my 401K is gone. We gave them that BIG CHANCE that they had always wanted—the chance that we had never tried—and they very nearly destroyed our nation in the process.

    What message do I take away from this history? The message I take is, “You had your chance you extremist fruitcakes, and you failed miserably. I am not about to give you and your fruitcake Wall Street banker buddies another shot at my 401K. It is over. You are history. Get used to it—and you too governor Perry.”

    Apart from the ills that have befallen our country over the past 14 years, the real tragedy here is not an unexpected one. When you and I touch our finger to the stove burner and jerk it back in excruciating pain, we know that we will never get our fingers that close to another stove burner. It appears that the fruitcakes have an inability to learn from the mistakes of their own past. They have decided that their 14 years of acting like fruitcakes failed because they were NOT FRUITCAKE EXTREMIST ENOUGH. Their plan now is to heal the Republican Party by becoming several times more intensely fruitcake and extremist as they were before. Someone has to stop these idiots now to prevent this nation from becoming a burned out and whimpering cinder. That someone is you and me—and people like “Tincy” Miller.

  3. We must and I repeat WE MUST do everything we can to defeat Rick Perry in the next Governors election. He is a nut job and religious fundamentalist who is sacrificing our states future to further his ideological agenda. Pleas sncourage your friends to vote this cancer out of the Governors office of our great state!