Dr. Jack Christie, former chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, and Jim Nelson, former Texas education commissioner, have authored an op-ed column calling on voters to put kids ahead of ideology in the May 29 primary elections:
Contests for the presidential and U.S. Senate nominations are at the top of primary ballots, but it’s important that voters pay attention to races down the ballot this year especially those for the State Board of Education.
Because of redistricting last year, all 15 seats on the board are now up for grabs in the May 29 Republican and Democratic primaries and the November general election.
That means voters this year have a unique opportunity to shape public education policy in Texas for a generation.
A few board members have simply been too focused on promoting their own personal and political beliefs. As a result, we’ve seen repeated fights over issues such as what to teach about evolution in science classrooms and whether history textbooks are too liberal or too conservative.
Board members compete with one another to ensure that their pet causes or favorite topics get special treatment. They make last-minute changes to curriculum standards without educators and scholars — never mind the general public — having an opportunity to review those revisions.
Even worse, facts are essentially put up for majority vote. Curriculum standards grow impossibly long and incoherent. And publishers are pressured to change their textbooks to meet the ideological objections of board members and interest groups.
This is a terrible way to guide the education of our nearly 5 million schoolchildren.
Check out more of what Dr. Christie and Mr. Nelson have to say about the State Board of Education elections here.
The Texas Freedom Network’s SBOE elections page includes information and news about the candidates and districts.