We long ago lost count of the number of times self-styled "historian" David Barton has been caught perpetuating historical inaccuracies or outright lies. (The man is nothing if not prodigious.) But on his radio program earlier this week, Barton delivered a doozy when discussing the Texas State Board of Education's revision of social studies curriculum standards. Here's what he said as he was complaining about the efforts of civil rights groups to list Tejanos among those who fought at the Alamo during the Texas Revolution: They ["Hispanic groups"] kept insisting that we have a quota of Hispanics. For example, one of the silly things they said was, well, we want to make sure we show the Tejano leaders at the Alamo. And we pointed out – did you know there were not any Tejano leaders at the Alamo? "Yeah, but you gotta show..." No, there was only one Tejano leader, and he left before the fighting started. He was one of the guys who crossed the line. And are you sure you want to show retreating, you know? And they didn’t even know that. But they were so insistent that they be pictured everywhere even if that group had not been there at the time something happened. Those "silly" groups don't know their history? Or is it Barton who is "silly" and uninformed? We asked Dr. Frank de la Teja, professor and chairman of the history department at Texas State University, to weigh in on this question. In 2007 Gov. Rick Perry appointed Dr. de la Teja to serve the first-ever two-year term as the state historian of Texas. So here's what a real historian has to say about Barton's claim: Read More

So says Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley. Speaking on the Internet radio program WallBuilders Live! today, the Republican from Beaumont Buna in Southeast Texas told hosts David Barton and Rick Green that "conservatives" hold only a slim majority on the state board: "The pendulum in politics swings both ways and for the first time in many many decades we have been able to carry the debate. And it's a value system, and it goes down to the core. It is a cultural war, and it is a religious conflict." Well, at least he admits it. Read More

On Thursday Don McLeroy once again had difficulty explaining why the Texas State Board of Education has made so many bone-headed decisions in overhauling social studies curriculum standards for public schools. McLeroy, a College Station Republican who lost his bid for re-election to the board in the GOP primary earlier this month, spoke to listeners of On Point, a program produced by Boston NPR station WBUR. (Hat tip to TFN Insider reader James F for the heads-up about the show.) McLeroy had a particularly hard time justifying why in the world the board removed Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about Enlightenment thinkers. In fact, he suggested adding Jefferson back in to the world history standards. But along the way he inadvertently admitted spending so much time wrecking the rest of the standards document that he really didn't realize taking Jefferson out in the first place was foolish. "Actually, when you're in the process of making lots of amendments, you're busy, you're all day long. When you have time to reflect, maybe you'll change your vote. I think all politicians do that." Indeed. But isn't this yet another example of why it's unwise for the board's politicians to be micromanaging the work of teachers and scholars who spent nearly a year developing the social studies standards? Read More

In today's Texas Tribune story about the State Board of Education's management of the Permanent School Fund (PSF), much of the focus has been on this inane quote from board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna: “If you sit on the mental health commission, do you have to be retarded? If you sit on the [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission], do you have to be a drunk?” Bradley was arguing that the board -- made up mostly of non-finance types, like a dentist, lawyers, an insurance salesman and political activists -- could do a fine job of managing the massive PSF. But perhaps more interesting was Bradley's sneering criticism of the fund's permanent professional staff. He told the Tribune that the staff simply couldn't be trusted because those employees work for the Texas Education Agency instead of reporting to the state board: “Staff usually works against the board. Sometimes staff can facilitate an agenda of their own.” And what agenda would that be, Mr. Bradley? Is the professional staff you hold with such contempt interested in something more than maximizing the return on investments for a fund that benefits Texas kids and public education? If that's what you mean, bring forth the evidence. Read More

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“If you sit on the mental health commission, do you have to be retarded? If you sit on the [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission], do you have to be a drunk?”

— Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, arguing that state board members don’t need to be finance experts to manage the $23 billion Permanent School Fund. Really.

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