We told you yesterday that Gail Spurlock, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the District 12 State Board of Education seat in Texas, thinks the early Pilgrims were communists. Her views about sex education are similarly — how should we say — “out there.” In her interview with the right-wing North Texas Council, Spurlock said she thinks any mention of sex education in the public school health curriculum should be removed. And why is that?

“Society has been reproducing for thousands and thousands of years. I don’t think it’s something you need to teach children in schools. Even if we never say a word, they’re gonna figure it out. It’s not that tough.”

Here’s more of her answer:

(You can find the full North Texas Council videos here.)

Spurlock’s comment reminded us of what one rural school superintendent told us in 2007 when the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund surveyed the state’s public schools about what they were teaching on sex education:

“[We are] a small school with 301 students in grades PK to 12. Most of these kids live on a farm or have animals they feed and care… Read More

Informal rule of the Internet: If you Google what you think sounds like a wild historical claim and the first hit leads you to websites from conspiracy theorists and historical revisionists, your instincts are probably correct. Take, for example, a wild claim by Gail Spurlock, R-Richardson, who is running for her party's nomination for the District 12 seat on the Texas State Board of Education. There's plenty to dissect in the videos, but we'll start today with Spurlock's outrageous claim that the Pilgrims who settled in America in the early 1600s were — wait for it — communists! Here's what Spurlock had to say when asked about the controversial social studies curriculum standards passed the state board's far-right members in 2010: Those of us who dug into it, I was horrified at the false information that I had and the missing information from my own education. I didn’t know, for instance, that when the Pilgrims set up their little community – first of all, they were required to be communist. That was in their charter. Communism is that old. It was mandatory. And as a result of that half the people died in the first year. They opened up the Bible, and said “Oh, if you don’t work, you don’t eat.” They turned it into a free market system and they took off and flourished from there. Here's the clip: (The full video is here.) Right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, have been peddling the idea that Pilgrims attempted communism, were almost destroyed because of it, but were saved when they — as Spurlock puts it — embraced free markets. Read More

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year.

Andres Muro, District 1, D-El Paso (Current District 1 Board Member: Carlos “Charlie” Garza, R-El Paso)

Andres Muro, the director of the Community Education Program at El Paso Community College, is running for the District 1 SBOE seat currently held by Republican Carlos “Charlie” Garza, who is running… Read More

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year. Larry E. Garza, District 2, D-Kingsville (Current District 2 Board Member: Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi)

Larry Garza, a trustee in the Kingsville Independent School District, has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for the District 2 SBOE seat. Current District 2 member Mary… Read More

More evidence for how the Texas State Board of Education has become a battleground in the culture wars rather than a body that makes education a priority: a candidate questionnaire from the religious-right group Texas Alliance for Life.

The state board approves curriculum standards and textbooks for public schools. But Texas Alliance for Life doesn’t appear to be interested in any of that. Check out some of the items from the group’s questionnaire for candidates in the May 29 Republican and Democratic primaries:

Do you support or oppose the reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which allows abortion for any reason, even as a method of birth control at all stages of pregnancy, including late term abortions?

Do you support or oppose laws banning assisted suicide?

Do you support or oppose public funding for research that involves embryonic stem cells, which requires the destruction of human embryos?

Do you support of oppose a law prohibiting health insurance coverage of elective abortion?

From a cover letter accompanying the voter guide:

“These issues, in which public policy decisions have enormous significance, are some of the most critical confronting Texas and America.”

None of the… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

@SIECUS @kmillertfn @TXCapTonight This campaign for medically accurate, comprehensive and inclusive #SexEducation will stretch into next year when the TX State Board of Education is scheduled to make a decision. Find the TFN and SEICUS recs and ways to get involved at: tfn.org/sex-ed #TeachTheTruth pic.twitter.com/eoMv…