The Wall Street Journal put up an editorial this week praising Gov. Greg Abbott for his appointment of Donna Bahorich to chair the Texas State Board of Education.

TFN was just one voicing concern over Bahorich’s appointment, in part because she “rejected public education for her own family” and home-schooled her children.

And here’s some of the logic the Journal used to praise the Bahorich appointment:

The Texas State Board of Education *IS* the board of public schools! The board does nothing else other than oversee the state’s public school system. If the board had authority over all education, as you seem to imply, then they would also have power to regulate home-schoolers, which, ironically, they don’t.

You can read the full WSJ opinion piece here.… 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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Gov. Greg Abbott today announced the appointment of Texas State Board of Education member Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, as board chair. Bahorich replaces Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands. We just sent out the following press release:

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is expressing disappointment in Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision, announced today, to appoint State Board of Education member Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, as board chair:

“If Gov. Abbott wanted to demonstrate that he won’t continue his predecessor’s efforts to politicize and undermine our state’s public schools, this appointment falls far short. The governor has appointed as board chair an ideologue who voted to adopt new textbooks that scholars sharply criticized as distorting American history, who rejected public education for her own family and who supports shifting tax dollars from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools through vouchers. This appointment almost guarantees that the board will continue to put culture war agendas ahead of educating more than 5 million Texas kids.”

In 2013, her first year on the board, Bahorich voted against a resolution urging the Legislature to reject private school vouchers. Bahorich also homeschooled her three sons and then sent them to private and religious school. The board… Read More

Proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools will not include climate-change denial. In late reversals, two publishing heavyweights, Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill, have both confirmed that they will submit corrected textbooks this week at the SBOE. TFN distributed the following news release in response to the corrections.

Publishers have agreed to correct or remove inaccurate passages promoting climate change denialism from new social studies textbooks proposed for Texas public schools, a coalition of science and education groups announced this afternoon. This news comes as the State Board of Education prepares for a second public hearing on the proposed textbooks and a final vote on which texts to approve for Texas schools. The textbooks will likely be sold in other states as well.

Prior to today, publishers Pearson Education, WorldView Software and Studies Weekly Publications had already submitted to Texas education officials revisions to textbook passages that had included inaccurate information about climate change. The original passages had cast doubt on the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that climate change is a real and growing threat and that human activity is the primary driver of the problem. Today publisher McGraw-Hill confirmed to the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) that it will… Read More

It seems that at least one member of the Texas State Board of Education likes to attack colleagues behind their back rather than address them face-to-face. And that same board member appears willing to break the law to hide such deceitful tactics.

We told you last month that Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, sent his state board colleagues a private memo chastising them for spending so much time pushing a politically motivated resolution that criticizes the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. History course. Nearly 50,000 Texas high school students took the highly regarded course and its exam in 2013 to earn college credit. But board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, has criticized the course for supposedly undermining patriotism and promoting America-bashing.

Right-wing bloggers have echoed and spread Mercer’s baseless and silly claims, and the manufactured controversy has spread to other states as well. One Colorado State Board of Education member has even criticized the course for not teaching students that the United States ended slavery “voluntarily.”  Of course, the reason students don’t learn that is because it’s not true. But truth hardly slows down politicians trying to score cheap points with their gullible base.

Anyway, you can read Ratliff’s memo to his colleagues here. Very soon after he sent it, however, one… Read More