For well over a year, right-wing activists and pandering politicians like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick have loudly and recklessly complained that a popular curriculum tool used in hundreds of Texas schools is filled with anti-American, Marxist and pro-Islamic bias. Now a formal review of lessons from the CSCOPE curriculum program confirms that lies and distortions were behind many of the attacks.

An Austin-American Statesman review of the final reports from the State Board of Education’s review exposes just how baseless the attacks on CSCOPE’s lessons were. From the article:

More than 140 volunteers — parents, educators, business people and others appointed by members of the State Board of Education — combed through 431 social studies lessons from all grades in search of bias and errors. Their findings were posted online at cscopereviews.com in late January.

Fewer than 10 of the panelists found evidence of pervasive liberal bias; the other 130 or so did not.

“They used public schools and kids as pawns in their political games and now they have moved on to something else,” said State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, who opposed Patrick during a… Read More

Each of the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor raced as far to the extreme right as they could during their debate Monday night. Each one, for example, expressed support for banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Each one insisted that government should intrude into the end-of-life decisions families make for their loved ones who are brain dead. And each one insisted that public schools be put in the position of deciding whose religious beliefs about creation should be taught in their classrooms.

On the issue of creationism, disregard for now the fact that the four candidates were supporting something that would get the state’s cash-strapped public schools sued for violating the U.S. Constitution. The candidates would also create an impossibly difficult dilemma for public schools. Should those schools teach students that Earth is 6,000-years-old and that humans walked the land with dinosaurs? Should they teach competing religious beliefs about creation? Or should they simply leave, as they do now, religious instruction to families and congregations while focusing instead on teaching students established, mainstream science that prepares them to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century?

Just as appalling was… Read More

During a debate in Waco on Thursday, candidates for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor said they support teaching biblical creationism in the state’s public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism in public school science classrooms violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and two of his Republican primary opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick, called for teaching creationism in public schools. The Dallas Morning News reports that Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson also voiced his support, but the Texas Tribune reports Patterson didn’t specifically call for teaching creationism in public schools. However, the Tribune says Patterson insisted that the Constitution doesn’t protect separation of church and state.

The Texas Tribune directly quotes three of the candidates on the issues of creationism and religion in public schools.

Dewhurst:

“I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this. That’s why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution.”

Patrick:

“Our students …… Read More

It seems that Texas is filled with politicians competing with each other for the votes of right-wing extremists. The latest example of this came on Monday at a tea party meeting in the Fort Worth suburb of Bedford.

As the Texas Observer reports, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and his re-election opponents in next year’s Republican primary attended the event. A highlight of the evening was a lecture about the Islamic threat to America by Texas Eagle Forum President (and former Texas GOP chair) Cathie Adams. From the Observer:

Adams gave a stemwinder on how Islam — the religion of the “illiterate Arab, Mohammed” — threatens the American way of life. Adams’ pitch, that crypto-Muslims guiding American political life include such notables as Republican stalwart Grover Norquist and CIA Director John Brennan (who, it should be said, has helped cause the deaths of a great many non-secret Muslims,) received an awed and hushed reception, with several audience members visibly or audibly moved by the threat facing their country.

Adams has been promoting anti-Muslim hysteria and bigotry for quite some time now. (See here, for example.) But at least one of the GOP candidates… Read More

The Austin-based news website Quorum Report (subscription required) today notes that the entity that helped organize Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s Monday press conference attacking the CSCOPE curriculum management system is a for-profit, “Tea-Party-for-hire group” that goes by the name Voices Empower. Run by North Texas political activist Alice Linahan, Voices Empower specializes in marketing and political consulting.

Voices Empower is also behind a website calling for the impeachment of State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant. Ratliff has been a vocal critic of the anti-CSCOPE political witch hunt.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, Dewhurst declared at his press conference yesterday that he “personally (has) a problem with any effort to politicize this process.” Flanked by Linahan as well as tea party and other political activists, he said doing so would  be “an affront to these families, and Texas families across the state, and the values we hold dear as Texans.” Then why did Dewhurst team up with political activists and a for-profit political consulting business to attack a curriculum tool used by hundreds of public and Christian schools in Texas?

Second, critics have claimed that the… Read More

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes

#MineralWells city council votes 5-2 against considering the ordinance. They will still hear testimony from those who have shown up today. pic.twitter.com/wcJu…