After several years of especially divisive “culture war” battles over what Texas public school students should learn about evolution, history and other subjects, the State Board of Education last week decided that it will adopt new science textbooks for all schools in 2013. The new adoption schedule also has the board approving textbooks for history and social studies in 2014.
The decision to adopt new science and social studies textbooks comes after the board adopted controversial curriculum standards for both in recent years — science in 2009 and social studies in 2010. Independent reports over the past year have given both sets of standards poor marks.
Yesterday, for example, a report from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute criticized the 2009 science standards in Texas as “riddled with errors,” “sketchy,” “redundant,” and “woefully imbalanced.” Last year a Fordham report called the American history standards adopted in 2010 a “politicized distortion” of American history filled with “misrepresentations at every turn.” And last fall a report for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Social Studies Faculty Collaborative warned that the social studies standards are “ineffective,” “fail to meet the state’s college readiness standards,” and… Read More
The Houston Chronicle has an article about the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund study showing that more school districts in the state are finally adding information about contraception to sex education classes. But here’s what a representative of the abstinence-only lobby told the newspaper about what schools should be telling teens when it comes to sexuality and health:
“We tell them what we know: They should never do it.”
The solution is just to tell teens “never have sex”? The vast majority of people will have sex at some point in their lives. But never mind that — just what does he think Texas schools have been doing anyway? For decades the vast majority have been simply telling teens to abstain. In fact, Texas has received more federal abstinence-0nly funding than any other state — and it still has one of the highest teen birthrates in the nation.
Pro-ignorance, abstinence-only activists want all of us to bury our heads in the sand. But Texas parents know we have to change course — 80 percent of likely voters in the state support teaching teens about contraception along with the importance of abstinence. So TFN will… Read More
Texas Eagle Forum’s December “News and Notes” e-newsletter offers more of the bigotry and pro-ignorance rhetoric we’ve come to expect from that far-right group.
Part of TEF President Pat Carlson’s email notes a Dallas Morning News report about a whisper campaign that led State Board of Education member George Clayton, R-Richardson, to acknowledge recently that he is gay. The newsletter continues:
Because of redistricting, all 15 SBOE seats will be up for election in 2012. We need to recruit and elect/re-elect true conservatives to these important positions so Texas will not go the way of Massachusetts or California in mandating K-12 pro-homosexual education in the classroom.
Gay people can’t be “true conservatives”? Perhaps Carlson’s version of a “true conservative” is one who promotes fear and hate toward people who are different. And what exactly does she mean by a “pro-homosexual education in the classroom”? To our knowledge, Clayton has never even mentioned the issue of sexual orientation in his time on the state board (not, at least, until his personal life was the subject of a whisper campaign by political opponents). Most likely, Carlson simply wants to make sure that state board members don’t… Read More
In our latest episode of "Liberty Institute Says the Darndest Things," we look at the Focus on the Family Texas affiliate's use of a fear-mongering term we've covered before, but this time we have audio of it. We're talking about "drug-based sex education," an absurd construction used (maybe even coined) by LI's Austin-based lawyer/lobbyist any time he argues against comprehensive sex education and for the failed abstinence-only programs that dominate sex education classes in Texas schools. Read More