This is just nuts. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that plans by President Obama to address students across the country next week have right-wingers -- including Texas State Board of Education members -- foaming at the mouth about "political indoctrination" and students being "ostracized" if they don't agree with the president. One Houston-area parent tells the newspaper: “I think it's inappropriate because it smacks of political indoctrination of the worst kind. It's not just a speech. It's a specific curriculum to go along with the speech directly from the president of the United States without review.” Good grief. Read More
The San Antonio Express-News has this story up online today: Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority — but nothing about liberals — under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks. And the side that got left out is very unhappy. As it stands, students would get “one-sided, right wing ideology,” said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, chairman of the House Mexican American Caucus. “We ought to be focusing on historical significance and historical figures. It's important that whatever course they take, that it portray a complete view of our history and not a jaded view to suit one's partisan agenda or one's partisan philosophy,” he said. The distinguished legislator is absolutely right, of course. The last thing most parents want is their children's education dragged into partisan politics. But that seems to be where we're headed if the State Board of Education's far-right faction gets its way. Read More
Far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education continue to protest that they aren't trying to politicize the revision of social studies curriculum standards for public schools. But their actions don't match their denials. We told you two weeks ago that those board members were pitching a hissy about criticism of the unqualified ideologues they have appointed to a panel of so-called "experts" helping guide the social studies revision. Now we have a troubling e-mail exchange between one state board member and a university staffer who wanted to be placed on a team actually drafting the new curriculum standards. In the e-mail exchange, which we obtained through a Texas Public Information Act request, state board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, out-of-the-blue asks the applicant: "Would you consider yourself a conservative when it comes to patriotism, the constitution, the heritage of our forefathers, etc.?"…… Read More
At their meeting in Austin yesterday, far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education complained that the news media had blown out of proportion calls by conservative "expert" curriculum reviewers (appointed by those board members) to remove liberal historical figures like Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall from social studies curriculum standards. Terri Leo, R-Spring, and her allies on the board insisted that the reviewers were only stating their opinions and that there was no organized effort to censor liberals and minorities in the standards. Ms. Leo, in fact, indignantly criticized "the media's huge 'knee-jerk' reaction when this process hasn't even started yet." Good grief. Ms. Leo must have selective amnesia. Read More
Texas State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, is crowing about the state’s new science standards in her April edition of The Cargill Connection (an e-mail newsletter). Ms. Cargill is thrilled that the standards require that students learn “all sides” of scientific evidence regarding evolution. She and other creationists on the board have made it clear they will use that standard to pressure publishers to include phony, long-discredited arguments against evolution in new science textbooks up for adoption in Texas in 2011.
Then Ms. Cargill notes a series of her amendments to the standards that the board approved:
I labored for months seeking input from science educators and experts before offering over twenty amendments for the elementary TEKS. All of these passed! Our young students will study the planets (they had been omitted), experiment with simple machines like pulleys, and make predictions using weather maps.
What?!? Those evil, liberal, education-establishment heathens! Why, they were even trying to HIDE THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S PLANETS FROM OUR KIDS!
Good grief. Did Ms. Cargill honestly think students wouldn’t be learning about the planets in their science classrooms? Really? Yes, we can almost hear the publishers: “Teaching… Read More