Former Texas State Board of Education chair Don McLeroy isn’t done distorting history.

While McLeroy was on the board in 2010, he and his colleagues gave Texas schools new social studies curriculum standards that downplay the primary role slavery played in the Civil War. Now, as a former SBOE member, he’s rewriting the role he and other board members played in writing those pretty much universally panned standards on which history textbooks for millions of Texas schoolchildren are based.

Here was McLeroy this week, appearing alongside TFN President Kathy Miller, on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” McLeroy defended the standards (as well as the ridiculous revision and approval process for those standards) and said some things that weren’t very accurate. Watch the clip in its entirety and we’ll have more below the fold.

On the causes of the Civil War, McLeroy says the board “never really discussed that very much.” He actually makes that claim twice in the “Ed Show” clip. Coincidentally, that’s how many times the board discussed (at length) the causes of the Civil War in just one day — May 20, 2010.

Thankfully, there’s video of that day. At just after the 9:30 mark of this clip, SBOE member Pat… Read More

On Thursday Donna Bahorich was appointed the new chair of the Texas State Board of Education. In this Houston Chronicle story on Bahorich’s appointment, a former chair, Don McLeroy, left the following comment:

I find it ironic that it its Mr. Ratliff, and the Texas Freedom Network(By the way, thank you for not including them in your story!) are the ones out there making contentious statements; it was always that way. The media has portrayed that it was the religious conservatives that caused ’embarrassing public fights’ when it was actually the other side. Just look again at who is ‘publicly fighting’ in your story.”

No, Dr. McLeroy, TFN and the media did not create the circus at the board. We were all just there with cameras, quoting you — the ringmaster during many of these debates — accurately.

Don McLeroy: “Someone has to stand up to experts!”

Don McLeroy on how women got the right to vote

Don McLeroy explains dinosaurs on the ark

Don McLeroy explains the United Nations

It wasn’t just McLeroy. Here’s fellow board member David Bradley vs. church-state separation

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“False ideas are the greatest obstacle to progress. Evolution, the idea that all life is descended from a common ancestor, is a false idea.”

— Don McLeroy (@DonMcLeroy) November 26, 2014

“False ideas are the greatest obstacle to progress. Evolution, the idea that all life is descended from a common ancestor, is a false idea.”

That’s a tweet today from the creationist former chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, Don McLeroy. McLeroy helped lead the right’s campaign from 2008 to 2010 to dumb down teaching on both evolution and climate change in new public school textbooks. He and his fellow anti-science fanatics failed completely. Thanks to the hard and costly work of the Texas Freedom Network, fantastic coalition partners like the National Center for Science Education and Climate Parents, and tens of thousands of supporters, new science and social studies textbooks in Texas teach the truth about both evolution and climate change without the “false ideas” that McLeroy wanted in them.

That’s something we can all be thankful for. As 2014 draws to a close, please consider helping TFN replenish our resources for the battles ahead both at the State Board of Education and, especially in 2015, the… Read More

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That landmark legislation bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Its enactment came after decades of struggle by civil rights advocates in the face of virulent opposition — opposition that often resorted to brutality and even murder.

President Johnson didn’t sweep away bigotry and discrimination with the simple stroke of his pen on July 2, 1964. But his signature marked a key moment when the United States truly began to fulfill the promise of equality for all under the law.

Right-wing politicians and activists have spent decades trying to rewrite the history of the struggle for civil and equal rights in this country. One of those political activists — as we explain here and here — has been David Barton, the right’s favorite phony historian and head of Texas-based WallBuilders, which argues that separation of church and state is a myth. Barton has argued that conservatives — Republicans, in particular — were the real champions of civil rights.

It is absolutely true that white southern Democratic senators successfully led efforts to kill civil rights legislation for decades. But Barton ignores the… Read More

Four American presidents are coming to Austin this week for the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas campus. The event, which lasts from Tuesday to Thursday, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This anniversary year is, as educators say, a teachable moment. Students will have an opportunity to learn more about how African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, women and others have worked long and hard to win the same rights and privileges as white men in this country. This might also be a teachable moment for the Texas State Board of Education, which this year will consider the adoption of proposed new social studies textbooks for public schools.

The struggles for civil and equal rights in America were a big part of the debate over new curriculum standards for social studies classes in 2009-10. That debate exposed the incredible ignorance among some board members about how those movements succeeded. So let’s look back at what one board member at the time, Don McLeroy, wanted students to learn about civil rights:

Here’s what we had to say at the time:

So the… Read More

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