The Texas State Board of Education is progressing slowly through early agenda items this morning. We anticipate that the board won’t get to the debate over proposed new social studies curriculum standards until after lunch. TFN Insider will resume live-blogging from the meeting once board members take up the social studies debate.… Read More

Testimony and our live-blogging will resume after the board returns from a lunch break at 2 p.m. A live, streaming Web cast of the hearing is available here. Click on the January 13 link. SBOE Chair Gail Lowe says the board will end the hearing at 6 p.m., even if there are people still waiting to testify. Mary Helen Berlanga says she and any other board members who join her will stay until everyone has a chance to speak. TFN Insider will continue blogging from the hearing at 2 p.m. In the meantime, please consider supporting the Texas Freedom Network and our work for sound curriculum standards for Texas public school students. We can continue our work only with your generous support. Please click here to donate. 2:10 - The hearing has resumed, with state Rep. Norma Chavez asking that students be required to learn about important Latino historical leaders, such as Cesar Chavez Irma Rangel and former congressman Henry B. Gonzalez. 2:25 - A testifier suggests that students are taught that socialism is better than capitalism, and she says that the standards promote discussions of social injustice and multiculturalism over discussions America's accomplishments. Board member Mavis Knight asks for examples, but the testifier says she has none to give. 2:29 - Board member Mary Helen Berlanga pounces on the statement that "we shouldn't focus on past injustices." She asks whether that means social studies should simply ignore segregation and racial discrimination. The testifier: "I'm just saying, don't emphasize them (past injustices)." 2:34 - Board member Rene Nunez: Would you say world history courses should ignore the Holocaust? Testifer: Well, that's too specific of an example. "We should just stick to the facts." 2:53 - Signs from the Tea Party "rally" (such as it was) at the Texas Education Agency today: 2:57 - A new testifier wants the standards to emphasize the 10th Amendment as limiting the power of Congress and protecting the rights of the states. He argues that U.S. government today threatens freedom. He pushes the concept of state nullification of federal laws that the state sees as unconstitutional. 3:02 - Board member David Bradley is sympathetic to the argument, of course, and notes that the federal government has no role in public education. Of course, the federal role in public education isn't at issue today. Read More

9:58 - The Texas State Board of Education swept through the all five earlier items on its agenda this morning and have already begun the hearing on proposed social studies standards for Texas public schools. A live, streaming Web cast of the hearing is available here. Click on the January 13 link. 10:02 - TFN  President Kathy Miller is speaking. She sets the record straight: No one opposes teaching students about the influence of religion in American history. But she applauds the curriculum writing teams for not bowing to pressure to portray the United States and our government as favoring one faith over all others. She also calls on the board to give board members the opportunity to consult with experts when considering amendments. 10:05 - SBOE member Barbara Cargill assures Kathy that she consults with experts before she offers amendments. Kathy reminds her that other board members should have the opportunity to consult with experts before they vote on someone's amendment. 10:07 - SBOE member David Bradley says the Legislature doesn't call in more experts when lawmakers offer amendments. He says Kathy is challenging the board's process. Indeed, she is challenging it -- because the State Board of Education isn't the Legislature. It's a body that's deciding what kids will learn in their public schools. 10:09 - SBOE chair Gail Lowe defends the board's process and says board members should do their own homework. This is nonsense. The point is that they aren't doing their homework. 10:09 - Kathy notes that unlike in the Legislature, the SBOE doesn't prefile amendments so that board members can study them. 10:10 - Kathy is done. This was an astonishing display of arrogance on the part of board members. The board's far-right faction in November refused to bring the writing teams and "expert" panel back to advise on the standards as they are revised by the board. And now they're reiterating, in essence, that they can't be bothered to listen to experts. 10:20 - Steven Green, director of the Willamette University Center for Religion, Law and Democracy is up now. Prof. Green warns that suggestions from so-called "experts" (David Barton and Peter Marshall, essentially) appointed by board members represent "bad history." He warns that the Founders never intended to create a "Christian nation" based on Christian biblical principles. Read More

2:25 – The board broke for lunch after David Barton’s comments. Next up will be comments from representatives of the social studies curriculum writing teams.

2:48 – The board is going through each grade level, listening to the curriculum writers. Nothing particularly controversial.

2:52 – Curriculum writers are using this opportunity to defend themselves against criticism that they had left out important Americans and events in their earlier work on the standards. Teachers are explaining the importance of keeping in mind when (at what grade level) and how various historical facts are introduced. We’ll probably have fewer posts here unless some controversy develops during this testimony.

2:59 – Well, this didn’t take long. SBOE board member Terri Leo notes that the Legislature requires students to learn about patriotism, and she objects to references to “global citizenship” in the standards. Such references, she says, don’t promote patriotism.

3:01 – Leo also objects to leaving a discussion of Nathan Hale out of the standards for first grade. But teachers are explaining that Hale’s execution is a difficult and perhaps disturbing concept for such young students. Further, they say, there are very few good, age-appropriate materials available for teaching students about Hale. But… Read More

11:49 – Another gem from Rev. Marshall’s testimony earlier:

“All men are created equal… this has been the basis of every great social crisis through American history. It was the basis for the American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, the women’s movement, the civil right movement, and is the basis for the modern-day pro-life movement.”

So Marshall is an advocate for equal rights for women, eh? We’re not so sure most American women would be comfortable with Marshall’s idea of equality. Check out this excerpt from one of Marshall’s “Commentaries” from earlier this year on his Web site:

“At some point in life’s journey, both boys and girls must break free from the mother/woman as the source of vitality and power, and yield to Jesus as the source of power and life. Many women have found themselves crying out for someone to deliver them from the natural compulsion to control the lives of others, which is what years of being the life-giving source of vitality for children and husband can easily turn into. And boys cannot become men capable of exercising Godly power in the world as protectors and providers, men who have mastered themselves and thus can… Read More

Americans United

Dan Quinn of @TFN shares how religion can be discussed objectively during classroom instruction, but students in public schools shouldn’t fear they will be preached to #CC20 #CreatingChange…