Have you had enough? Last week’s Texas State Board of Education meeting was yet another debacle for honest and sound education. Last year the board’s creationist faction worked to water down instruction on evolution in science classrooms. The year before that they tried (but failed) to force politically approved reading lists into language arts and literature classrooms. Now the board’s extremists — who cynically attack anyone who opposes them, even other Republicans and people of faith, as “radical leftists” who hate Christians — are targeting our children’s social studies classrooms.
And the board’s corruption of social studies with ideological nonsense won’t affect just what Texas schoolchildren learn. Because Texas is such a large purchaser of textbooks, publishers will write their new books to meet this state’s standards and then sell them to schools in other states as well. That means bad history in Texas will find its way into classrooms across the country.
And how bad is it? Just check out some of the headlines we’ve all been reading:
“Texas Textbook Massacre” (Huffington Post)
“It’s Like They Are Proud of Being Ignorant” (The Atlantic)
“Social studies curriculum…puts a conservative stamp on history” (New York Times)
The Texas Freedom Network is issuing a call to action for all who care about whether schoolchildren get a quality education that prepares them to succeed in the world of the 21st century.
So what can you do?
First, sign on to Just Educate, our new campaign to reform the State Board of Education and keep politics out of our children’s public school classrooms. Our campaign will unite parents, business leaders and other concerned citizens behind a common-sense principle: the State Board of Education and our public schools should just educate our schoolchildren, not promote ideological agendas that are undermine their ability to compete and succeed in a 21st century economy.
Second, tell State Board of Education members to stop rewriting history and promoting radical political agendas. E-mail the state board at firstname.lastname@example.org. In particular, insist that they require social studies students to learn that the Founders barred government from promoting or disfavoring one religion over all others in this country. That principle is a fundamental constitutional protection for religious freedom in America.
Third, contact your local Texas legislator and insist that he or she support legislation in 2011 that reins in the authority of an out-of-control State Board of Education. You can find the names and contact information for your state representative and state senator here. With the help of thousands of concerned Texans, TFN will work with lawmakers to pass legislation next year that stops the state board from abusing its authority over curriculum standards and textbooks to promote political agendas over the education of public school students.
Finally, support our campaign with a donation to the Texas Freedom Network. We are the largest, state-based organization dedicated to fighting the radical right’s aggressive and corrosive agenda. Your support is more important than ever in this new campaign.
It’s time to stand up to extremists who are dragging our children’s public school classrooms into one “culture war” battle after another. Decisions about what students learn should be based on sound scholarship and the work of real experts in every subject — not the radical agendas of politicians on the State Board of Education.
So have you had enough? Then join us in this campaign.