UPDATE: Sen. Patrick’s website petition about CSCOPE was updated early Friday evening with a partial correction regarding the status of SB 41. By around midnight, however, the petition had disappeared completely from the website.

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We have some unsolicited advice for Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick: If you’re going to brag about passing a bill while trying to pander to right-wing voters, it’s probably a good idea to have, well, actually passed that bill.

This afternoon Sen. Patrick’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have touted the passage of SB 41, dubbed the “CSCOPE Termination Bill.” The posts direct readers to an online petition:

“As your Senate Chairman on the Committee on Education, we passed a bill I authored called SB41, bringing an end to the flawed and controversial CSCOPE curriculum. Now there are school officials and legislators who want to go against the will of the people, calling into question the state’s mandate to bring this curriculum to an end. Let them know you want to put and [sic] end to CSCOPE by signing the petition.”

Problem: Sen. Patrick filed SB 41 just two days ago (July 24). Not only hasn’t the Legislature passed the bill, it can’t… Read More

Now Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has joined state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, in throwing local control out the window and pandering to fanatics attacking the CSCOPE curriculum program used in hundreds of Texas school districts.

In a letter to the State Board of Education on Wednesday, Dewhurst said that he is “deeply troubled” that teachers in local school districts plan to continue using CSCOPE lessons. Activists on the loony right have absurdly attacked the lessons as Marxist, anti-American and pro-Islamic. Dewhurst wrote that “it is my intent to pass legislation as soon as possible to prevent districts from using CSCOPE lesson plans” as well as other components of the program.

Nearly 900 school districts — close to 80 percent of the school districts in Texas — use CSCOPE to help teachers cover all of the state’s complex and convoluted curriculum standards in a cost-effective way. Now the lieutenant governor wants the state Legislature to tell local superintendents and teachers what curriculum tools they can use in their local schools.

Dewhurst has also posted an anti-CSCOPE petition on his re-election campaign website, repeating the same silly claims (“unnecessary bias,” “veil of secrecy,” “attempt to undermine Texas values”) Tea… Read More

Just two months after gutting a curriculum tool that nearly 900 Texas school districts were using, state Sen. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have decided they're not done harassing educators and wasting taxpayer dollars. Last week Patrick called on the Texas State Auditor's Office to review the operations of the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), which was managing the CSCOPE curriculum program. The TESCCC (a nonprofit entity) was a collaboration of the state's 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs). Abbott sent a letter to the auditor's office making the same request a week earlier and tweeted on Sunday that "our investigation into #CSCOPE continues." No one has provided even a shred of evidence that the TESCCC, which was created to protect the intellectual property rights to CSCOPE, was involved in financial shenanigans. But right-wing activists -- the same ones who absurdly claim that CSCOPE's lessons (written largely by current and retired Texas teachers) are anti-American, anti-Christian, pro-Marxist and pro-Islam -- have been demanding that someone "investigate" anyway. Patrick, who has announced a run for lieutenant governor next year, and Abbot, who has launched a bid for the Governor's…… Read More

Following is even more proof that self-styled “historian” David Barton is little more than a propaganda artist: now he’s rewriting his own history. Yet Barton’s distorted versions of history are still getting traction on the political right, as Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston demonstrated last week.

Let’s start with Barton.

The president of Texas-based WallBuilders, an organization dedicated to rewriting American history and rejecting separation of church and state, has faced a number of embarrassments lately. Last year a religious publisher halted publication of Barton’s book about Thomas Jefferson, citing factual errors throughout. That came just weeks after Christian conservative scholars panned Barton’s work. Earlier this year writer Chris Rodda discovered that Barton had used a Louis L’Amour novel as a source for historical claims about 1800s America. We also caught Barton spreading falsehoods, including his false claim last fall that President Obama had ignored “God” in his four Thanksgiving proclamations.

Now it looks like Barton is trying to paper over one of his biggest blunders: bogus quotations he has in the past attributed to some of America’s Founders and various other important figures in our nation’s… Read More

Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, thinks he’s somehow qualified to tell local school districts and teachers what instructional materials they can use in their classrooms, but he doesn’t have a very good understanding of the basics of American constitutional freedoms. Speaking at the Mims Baptist Church in Conroe this past weekend, the Houston Press reports, Patrick informed congregants:

“There is no separation of church and state. It was not in the constitution.”

That declaration is unlikely to persuade a U.S. Supreme Court that has issued numerous rulings upholding separation of church and state under the U.S. Constitution over the span of many decades. Moreover, 68 percent of likely Texas voters responding to a poll conducted for the TFN Education Fund in May 2010 agreed that “separation of church and state is a key principle of our Constitution.”

Of course, it’s hardly surprising that Sen. Patrick would say such a thing. He has already announced his campaign for lieutenant governor, and pandering to religious-right voters who also oppose separation of church and state seems like a natural strategy for him.… Read More