Texas lawmakers continue to look for ways to rein in the State Board of Education. One way to do that is by making sure more Texans can witness the board’s extremists at work.
That’s why we’re happy that today state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, filed legislation requiring that the Texas Education Agency provide live video Web casts of all state board meetings. The Texas Legislature currently offers live video and audio Web casts of its own proceedings, but state board meetings are available only through audio feeds. Rep. Howard’s House Bill 772 would also require that TEA archive all audio and video clips on its Web site. Says Howard:
The Texas Legislature and other public agencies do this, and so should the State Board of Education. Citizens and taxpayers have a right to know that their government will make it as easy as possible for them to participate in the process they are paying for.
We couldn’t agree more.
Rep. Howard also said that she is preparing legislation that would move oversight over the state’s Permanent School Fund from the board to an independent body made up of individuals with expertise in financial management. Doing so would presumably require voter approval because the state Constitution gives the board oversight authority over the fund. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has already filed legislation (SB 440) stripping the board of all its statutory authority, including control over setting curriculum standards and adopting textbooks.