Bill Nye the Science Guy has gone viral with a new web video that simply must be shared with TFN Insider readers. In the vid, Nye makes an appeal to the grownups:

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

Will the grownups on the Texas State Board of Education who want sound evolutionary science to be taught please step forward? Not so fast, Ken Mercer. Or you, Gail Lowe. Stay where you are, Barbara Cargill. Do we even need to say anything, David Bradley? And a host of other SBOE members past and present.

Watch:

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Will we soon be hearing cries of betrayal from religious-righters who have been warning that Muslims are using charter schools to indoctrinate Texas kids?

Campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission show that David Bradley, a leader of the creationist faction on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), received three late contributions in May to his re-election campaign from people associated with charters schools that religious-right groups claim promote radical Islam.

The contributions, which totaled $3,700, came from the chief operating officer of Harmony Public Schools, a principal at one of the Harmony schools in the Houston area and a Houston board member for an organization said to be associated with a major financial backer of those charter schools.

Groups like Texas Eagle Forum have claimed that Harmony financial backer — a wealthy Turkish Muslim man  named Fethullah Gulen who lives in Pennsylvania — is using the charter schools to indoctrinate American students in Turkish and Muslim culture. Insisting that the so-called “Gulen movement” is a radical threat to America, they almost succeeded in holding up approval of a state budget in 2011 when some legislators promoted their arguments that “Gulen schools” (Harmony)… Read More

Remember when Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley criticized teachers and scholars who were crafting new language arts and reading curriculum standards for Texas schools back in 2008? Having students actually think about what they were reading didn’t seem like a good idea to Bradley:

“I’m sorry. This critical thinking stuff is gobbledygook.”

Well, Bradley’s fellow Republicans appear to agree. The 2012 Texas GOP platform adopted this month in Fort Worth includes the following gem:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

So the Texas GOP worries that teaching kids to think is a threat to parental authority. Who knew?

TFN’s analysis of the Texas GOP platform is here.Read More

New campaign finance reports show that one of the most prominent members of the Texas State Board of Education‘s far-right faction is being heavily outspent in his bid for re-election to the board seat he has held since 1996.

District 7 incumbent David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, reported spending just under $15,000 in the period from April 19 to May 20, according to his latest campaign finance report, which was due to the Texas Ethics Commission on Monday. He reported getting about $2,300 in contributions and a $500 loan he made to his campaign, but he had just $7.20 left in his campaign account.

Bradley’s opponent in the May 29 GOP primary, Rita Ashley of Beaumont, reported spending more than $48,000 over the same period. She got nearly $8,000 in contributions. More significantly, however, Ashley loaned her campaign $43,000 and had more than $23,000 left in her campaign account.

In campaign finance reports for the period of January 1 to April 19, Ashley also outspent Bradley almost 3-1 — $36,194 compared to $13,294. Although Ashely loaned her campaign $10,500 during that period, she also edged Bradley in campaign contributions, nearly $24,000 to about $21,500.

Still, Bradley likely has an… Read More

In the 1990s, San Antonio businessman James Leininger — the religious right’s sugar daddy in Texas — poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into State Board of Education (SBOE) races. That money helped hard-right social conservatives build a multi-year campaign to take control of the board — and turned subsequent board debates over textbooks and curriculum standards into divisive “culture war” battles that put politics ahead of education. But new campaign finance reports — which cover contributions and expenditures for January 1-April 19 — to the Texas Ethics Commission show that far less money is flowing (so far) into most election contests for all 15 SBOE seats this year. Moreover, Leininger hasn’t contributed any money (so far) to candidates in those races.

In the District 12 Republican primary, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas, is spending a lot of her own money to win back her old state board seat, which she lost to George Clayton, R-Richardson, in 2010. Miller’s spending tops that of all SBOE candidates, by far. She reported nearly $93,000 in campaign expenditures over the first four months of this year. That’s in addition to the $41,000 she spent in the last six months of… Read More

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