With a public school enrollment of more than 5 million, Texas has an increasingly diverse public education system. Unfortunately, that public education system is also the target of politicians seeking to privatize our neighborhood public schools and push a culture-war agenda in the classroom.

To that end, the Texas Freedom Network – while continuing to fight private school voucher legislation at the Capitol – has conducted groundbreaking research into what is being taught in classrooms on subjects like sex education and religion.

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The Latest on Education

Here are some of the week’s most notable quotes culled from news reports from across Texas, and beyond. Read More

The State Board of Education today took a step toward ensuring that public school students learn the full story of our nation’s history and all of the people who have contributed to it.

The board decided not to create a special stand-alone course in Mexican-American Studies for Texas public schools, but board members did vote to ask publishers to submit instructional materials for locally developed courses in Mexican-American Studies, African-American Studies, Native American Studies, and Asian-American Studies next year. Schools could then use  those instructional materials to teach ethnic studies courses under the Special Topics in Social Studies curriculum standards.

The board voted 11-3 in favor of this approach. Republicans David Bradley of Beaumont Buna, Pat Hardy of Fort Worth and Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas voted against the proposal. The board must confirm today’s preliminary vote at its official meeting on Friday.

Schools have long used Special Topics in Social Studies curriculum standards to create local courses that are not part of the state curriculum. But they must design those courses and find instructional materials on their own, which many schools lack the time and resources to do. Under today’s agreement, schools that choose to teach one or more ethnic… Read More

The State Board of Education on Tuesday heard from several dozen supporters of a new elective course on Mexican-American Studies for Texas public schools. The board will begin a formal discussion of the proposal, as well as other possible new courses, today. A final vote on the issue is scheduled for Friday. The Texas Freedom Network sent out the following press release Tuesday afternoon.

MEXICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES COURSE WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT STEP TOWARD TEACHING THE FULL HISTORY OF AMERICA

TFN President Calls on SBOE to Add MAS Course to State Curriculum

An elective Mexican-American Studies course would be an important step toward teaching public school students the full history of our nation, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said today.

“Right now there are more than 200 elective courses in the state curriculum, including classes on topics like floral design and web gaming,” Miller said. “In a state where the majority of public school students are Hispanic, surely there is room for an elective course that teaches students how Mexican-Americans have helped shape our nation’s history. And this is especially important just a few years after this state board actually debated whether Texas students should learn… Read More

This week TFN launched #SupportMAS, a campaign to encourage the Texas State Board to add an elective course in Mexican-American studies to the state curriculum. In announcing the campaign, we asked a friend of TFN to explain why the state needs a MAS course. His message is below.

You can add your name to the petition by going to tfn.org/supportMAS.

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By Ruben Garza I’d like to ask for your support for a Mexican-American studies course in Texas schools. But before I tell you why, let me tell you a little about myself.

I grew up the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. My days were spent in places like Edinburg and McAllen, but also around communities like San Juan and Hidalgo. We have schools in the Valley named after men called Austin and Travis, and also Gonzalez, De Zavala and Chavez. You’ll find that our streets, neighborhoods and even rivers carry a similar mix of diverse names.

What’s fascinating to me is that you’ll find these names all over much of Texas. Make no mistake, Mexican-Americans helped shape Texas and its history, not just the Valley.

But in my case, I didn’t have a real… Read More

You might think it would be difficult for the Texas Republican Party to lurch even further to the political right. But you would be wrong, especially when it comes to public education.

Wealthy real estate and car dealership magnate Don Huffines’ narrow defeat of incumbent state Sen. John Carona in their Republican Primary last month could be a big blow for supporters of public schools in Texas. Carona has held the Dallas-area Senate district’s seat since he was first elected in 1996. He has long been an opponent of private school vouchers, which divert tax dollars from public schools to private and religious schools.

Huffines, who campaigned as a tea party Republican, tells Dallas public radio station KERA that he supports “certain types of vouchers.” Among those “types” is the tax-credit voucher scheme pushed by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, last year. Such backdoor voucher schemes create tax breaks for businesses that contribute money to “scholarship” programs for students who attend private schools. Those tax breaks lower funding available for public schools.

Moreover, even Gov. Perry’s former state education commissioner, Robert Scott, has warned that “the potential for fraud is incredible” with these tax-credit voucher schemes. In