All Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) seats are up for election this year, but so far there’s not a lot of money flowing into those campaigns. Nearly all SBOE candidates have now filed their July 1, 2011-December 31, 2011, campaign finance reports with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Some non-surprises:… Read More

Is the religious right about to hit panic mode after Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses? POLITICO reports that James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Gary Bauer (American Values) and other movement leaders have been invited to a confab next weekend at the Texas ranch of Paul Pressler (who helped lead the right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s). According to POLITICO, the invitation reads:

“You and your spouse are cordially invited to a private meeting with national conservative leaders of faith at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler near Brenham, Texas, with the purpose of attempting to unite and to come to a consensus on which Republican presidential candidate or candidates to support, or which not to support.”

Many of the invitees are members of The Arlington Group, a secretive cabal of religious-right political leaders. It’s no secret that those Christian fundamentalist poo-bahs are appalled that Romney, a Mormon and pseudo-moderate, might become the GOP presidential nominee. But Bauer told POLITICO that the purpose of the meeting at the Pressler ranch isn’t to find a way to stop Romney.

Well,… Read More

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Donna Bahorich, District 6, R-Houston (Current District 6 Board Member: Terri Leo, R-Spring)

Donna Bahorich is seeking the SBOE District 6 seat that is currently held by Terri Leo, R-Spring. Leo is not seeking re-election. The following is from Bahorich’s campaign website. You can see an updated list of SBOE candidates here.

Donna Bahorich has a demonstrated record of success in business, education and political activism.… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Terri Leo’s hand-picked replacement might have a smooth path to the Republican nomination for that Houston-area seat next year.

Leo, one of the board’s most extreme right-wing members, on Monday said she would not seek re-election to the board. She instead endorsed Republican Donna Bahorich of Houston in next year’s election. Susan Kellner, president of the Spring Branch Independent School District Board of Trustees, had been preparing to challenge Leo for the GOP nomination. Today Kellner told the Austin-based political news website Quorum Report (subscription required) that she would not run and could support Bahorich:

“Terri Leo needed to go. She has failed on all fronts, and she was an embarrassment to public education in Texas. She’s mismanaged the Permanent School Fund. She’s created curriculum standards that are confusing for teachers, students and families. We need to get Texas public education back on track.”

Quorum Report notes that it had been clear for months that Kellner wanted to run against Leo:

Kellner … has been dogging eight-year incumbent Terri Leo’s steps for months, conspicuously attending State Board of Education meetings and typically sitting prominently in the audience where… Read More

Terri Leo and her colleagues on the Texas State Board of Education have spent years trying to promote their own distorted and politicized versions of American history in our public schools. So it shouldn't be too surprising that Leo got her history wrong yet again in yesterday's announcement that she will not seek re-election in 2012. Leo, R-Spring, endorsed Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, as her replacement on the board. Toward the end of that endorsement, Leo wrote: Donna understands fully what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said, "The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next." Except Lincoln quite likely didn't say that. In fact, it's just one of many "unconfirmed" quotations that the far right's favorite phony "historian," David Barton, once attributed to famous Americans in his own work. After years of criticism, Barton felt compelled in 2000 to acknowledge that he has no evidence those quotes were ever uttered. (Yet Leo's far-right  colleagues on the state board appointed Barton as an "expert" adviser on the social studies curriculum revision in 2009-10 even though he is mostly a political propagandist with no formal academic training in the social sciences.) Despite his admission of error, Barton's zombie quotations live on, eating their way into our nation's civil and political discourse. Read More

Texas Freedom Network

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