Folks in Ohio are upset after a Republican state legislator there criticized public education as a failure because, he says, it’s socialism. But he’s got nothing on the anti-public education fanatics we elect here in Texas.

Ohio state Rep. Andrew Brenner wrote about public schools in a blog post on March 3 titled “Public education in America is socialism, what is the solution?” Here’s part of what he wrote:

It is interesting that tea party members will attack Obama-care relentlessly as a socialist system that brings about mediocrity and failure, and also blame Common Core for all of the problems in our education system because they are concerned that it will become centralized. However, they rarely (if ever) bring up the fact that our public education system is already a socialist system. and has been a socialist system since the founding of our country. While one room school houses (which were also used in many cases as houses of worship) worked well 100 years ago when most students graduated by the 7th grade, the same system does not work well today.

The solution to the “problem,” he writes, is to privatize education:

Successful schools will thrive. The free-market… Read More

Remember Cynthia Dunbar? She’s the creationist former member of the Texas State Board of Education who wrote a book in which she called public education “tyrannical,” unconstitutional and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” Dunbar left the board at the end of 2010 and last we heard was teaching law at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. On Monday the folks at Fox & Friends invited Dunbar to talk about last week’s adoption of new science textbooks in Texas — in particular, the adoption of an environmental science textbook criticized by oil and gas industry advocates for its coverage of issues like hydraulic fracturing and climate change. As Media Matters reports, Dunbar bizarrely tied the textbook adoption to the Common Core standards and attacked it as an example of “socialized education”:

“This is what happens when you have socialized education pushing particular viewpoints within the classroom. I know Americans are concerned about socialized health care through Obamacare. I think they need to be equally concerned about socialized education through Obamacore.”

First, why would anyone still seek the opinion of a political extremist who viciously attacks the very public schools she was elected to… Read More

Last night’s State Board of Education elections marked another big step toward an end to the culture wars in Texas public school classrooms. With the defeat of incumbent Charlie Garza, R-El Paso, the state board’s faction of far-right ideologues should be smaller next year than at any time since before the 2006 elections.

Zooming out a bit, here’s the big picture that emerged from this year’s elections:

Garza lost to challenger Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso, after just two years on the state board. Educator Sue Melton of Waco defeated longtime incumbent Gail Lowe — a leading member of the board’s far-right faction and a former board chair — in the Republican primary this past spring. Longtime religious-right firebrand Terri Leo chose not to seek re-election after it became clear that she would face a very tough challenge in the GOP primary.

Add that to dramatic shifts on the board after the last election cycle in 2010:

Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant knocked off former board chairman and arch-creationist Don McLeroy in the Republican primary. Cynthia Dunbar, one of the far right’s most divisive voices on the board, chose not to seek re-election that same year.

Consider… Read More

The culture wars at the Texas State Board of Education have been so intense that they made a movie about them.

Sadly, this isn’t fiction.

We’ve told you before about “The Revisionaries,” the feature documentary from Texas director Scott Thurman, but we’re happy to bring you news that TFN will be premiering the film in Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Austin.

We’re also happy to bring you a new exclusive clip of the film. Our apologies in advance if this brings on some difficult PTSD-induced flashbacks. We’re fully aware of how absurd some of those social studies debates were and that some of you may not have fully recovered.

But first: the premiere details. We’re heading to Dallas to premiere the film at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre on Oct. 5, with a Q&A session with Thurman and TFN President Kathy Miller to follow the screening. Details for the SA, Houston and Austin premieres are being finalized but they’ll happen this fall.

If you’re interested in tickets and details on the other premieres, keep an eye on tfn.org/revisionaries.

And now here’s the exclusive clip, featuring TFN’s Miller and former SBOE member Cynthia Dunbar. Also featured: Questionable claims made about public… Read More

Donna “Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution” Garner’s fiery email exchange with Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton this week included a particularly interesting tidbit you might have missed. Garner suggested a variety of reasons for supporting Gail “Pilgrims Were Commies” Spurlock as Clayton’s replacement on the board. Among them, she said, is that Spurlock is “a successful business woman who has homeschooled her own children for some years.”

So Spurlock’s decision to abandon the very public school system she wants to manage for everyone else’s kids is a plus? Of course, a number of creationists on the state board over the last few years also homeschooled their children. One, former board member Cynthia Dunbar, even called public schools unconstitutional, “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” Does Spurlock agree with those sentiments too? Read More