Shining a Light on the Texas State Ed Board

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.

In December, Rep. Howard filed legislation (HB 420) that would make elections to the state board of education nonpartisan.

7 thoughts on “Shining a Light on the Texas State Ed Board

  1. Creationists on TV? Don’t they believe that cameras steal a person’s soul? Oh, wait. That’s a voodoo belief. Easy to get ’em mixed up sometimes.

  2. How is video an improvement over audio, unless graphics are presented at the meetings, which I suppose does not happen very often? I have no trouble following the meetings via audio. Also, I still have a dial-up modem connection to the Internet and this connection is too slow to handle video. I can’t even handle the Texas Education Agency’s archived audio files — I can handle only the live TEA audio transmissions. Even if they offer video, they should continue to offer audio.

    Also, the following provision of House Bill 420 is unconstitutional: “A political party may not make a nomination for the office of State Board of Education.” That provision in effect denies political parties the freedom to express themselves by endorsing candidates.

  3. Either non partisan, which would mean that names would appear on both party primary lists or would just be a plurality in the fall election?? It would keep just the one party thing from having all the members if on in the fall elections. The State Board of Education forgets that reality and education come before all the other crap they spend their time discussing. Our world wouldn’t work if science weren’t true!! What a bunch of idiots!!! By the way, if you guys at TFN want to help Texas be more representative and open, then get behind doing away with the straight party vote. Causes people with absolutely no knowledge of anything to have a serious effect on who gets elected! Only 13 states allow it. If you want to see what NOT allowing it does, check out Arkansas. Big for McCain, then every county went for the Democrat for senator, 82% against gays adopting kids, then 3 of 4 US House members elected were Democrat. That can NEVER happen in Texas the way it is now. I’ve approached my state rep about this, TFN needs to get after it too!

    August Schott

  4. DIAL-UP MODEM?! Call the Department of Paleontology! Phone the Vatican! Proof of dinosaurs and men co-existing at the same moment in time!

  5. Ghost of Giordano Bruno Says (January 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm) —
    –DIAL-UP MODEM?! Call the Department of Paleontology! Phone the Vatican! Proof of dinosaurs and men co-existing at the same moment in time!–

    Ever hear of “living fossils”? Dial-up modems are by no means obsolete — a recent (2008) survey showed that 15 percent of American home internet users still use them —

    Among the 10 percent of Americans (or 15 percent of home internet users) with dialup at home:

    — 35 percent of dialup users say that the price of broadband service would have to fall.
    –19 percent of dialup users say nothing would convince them to get broadband.
    –10 percent of dialup users – and 15 percent of dialup users in rural America – say broadband service would have to become available where they live.
    –Overall, 62 percent of dialup users say they are not interested in switching from dialup to broadband.

    The percentages of dial-up modem users are probably greater in some foreign countries. We should not be ignored. I was very annoyed when I could not listen to a Judge Jones lecture because it was only on video.

    If the communication is only verbal, audio-only is fine. People used radios for about 30 years before TV’s became common.

    I inquired about five years ago about broadband and was told it was not available in my area, even though I live in the middle of a big city. Maybe it is time to ask about it again.