Right-wing activists are angry with a couple of Republican members of the State Board of Education who have refused to hop on their crazy train. The source of their anger (right now, anyway) is CSCOPE, the curriculum management tool that we reported about last month. CSCOPE is a product of a collaboration of regional Education Service Centers created by the state in the 1960s. Many Texas school districts use CSCOPE. Some teachers have found it very helpful, while others don’t like it for a variety of pedagogical reasons. But during a state board committee hearing on November 15, right-wing political activists attacked the program for supposedly promoting Marxism and radical Islam while trying to undermine America and Christianity. One speaker even compared CSCOPE to Nazi Germany.

Some board members — not surprisingly, considering the board’s recent history as a “culture war” battleground — encouraged and even fed off of those outrageous attacks. Other board members, however, defended the program or at least tried to separate legitimate concerns from the hysterical political claims. For example, they insisted that CSCOPE developers do a better job making sure school districts understand that parents can review the curriculum… Read More

UPDATE: Apparently, someone was embarrassed that we were highlighting Barbara Cargill’s comments at a Texas Eagle Forum event last week. YouTube videos of those comments have now been made private. No matter. We already have those comments and the videos. We’ll have more from Cargill’s talk — this time her troubling comments about the coming of adoption of science instructional materials — shortly.

NEWER UPDATE: The video linked in the post is available again.

***

Well, this sure didn’t take long. Last Tuesday the San Antonio Express-News quoted newly appointed Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill as saying that she would “facilitate the meetings with a lot of character and a listening ear because we all represent our various districts, so we certainly want to hear from every board member on the issues.” Then just two days later she questioned the faith and politics of fellow board members whose views are different from her own.

Speaking Thursday night at a Texas Eagle Forum event in Conroe, this is how Cargill, R-The Woodlands, described the faction of board members with whom she votes in lockstep:

“Right now there are six true… Read More

The Texas State Board of Education is about to take up a proposed resolution attacking Islam and claiming that social studies textbooks are anti-Christian. TFN Insider will keep you updated on progress. 9:53 a.m. - We notice that board members Barbara Cargill and Don McLeroy have been going through world history textbooks currently used in Texas publics schools. Cargill has them stacked at her desk. We anticipate that she and McLeroy will use examples from those books to try to prove that they reflect an anti-Christian, pro-Islamic bias. But those textbooks were approved for Texas schools by this board in 2002, and social conservatives at the time were very happy. Why? Because, as news reports from the time explain, they were able to force publishers to make numerous changes, including the addition of positive references to Christianity and the deletion of neutral or positive references to Islam. From a Houston Chronicle article dated Oct. 30, 2002 (now archived on a conservative Christian website): The discussion of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., by Muslim extremists was closely read by many reviewers. Raborn criticized a passage in the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill book that…… Read More

The brewing Republican civil war between religious extremists and traditional conservatives is heating up. Now Texas State Board of Education member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas is sharply criticizing extremists who attacked her and fellow conservative Republicans during the recent debate over public school science curriculum standards.

Ms. Miller is denouncing “ultra-religious extremists” who attacked board members for voting against a requirement that students learn phony “weaknesses” of evolution in their science classrooms:

The three Reagan Republicans on the board, myself, Bob Craig & Pat Hardy, became targets of a particularly false smear campaign from a group of anti-science Republican fundamentalists sending threatening calls and e-mails.

In a clever and misleading “sound bite” argument, the Intelligent Design/Creationists were determined to insert religious discussion into the science curriculum of millions of Texas schoolchildren by forcing educators to teach “weaknesses of Evolution” … which deliberately confuses “hypothesis” with scientific theory.

You can read Ms. Miller’s full column here.

Ms. Miller’s anger at the smear campaign that targeted her, Craig and Hardy is understandable. As TFN Insider has noted, creationist pressure groups viciously attacked the three, even calling their religious faith and personal morals into question. See here and… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

It took years to convince the @TXSBOE to create a Mexican American studies course for the state's public schools. It's great to see school districts offering it to students. cbsloc.al/3kKHvgR