TFN PRESIDENT: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS WILL USE THIS BILL TO RETURN TEXAS TO THE WORST YEARS OF THE TEXTBOOK WARS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 28, 2017

AUSTIN – Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is warning that today’s passage of SB801 by the House and Senate threatens to return Texas to the worst years of textbook censorship by the State Board of Education.

SB801 allows the state board to determine whether content in textbooks under consideration for use in Texas public schools is “suitable for the subject and grade level.” Current state board member and former chair Barbara Cargill, R–The Woodlands, has already made clear she and her colleagues will use that provision to reject textbook content they don’t like.

Prior to 1995, state board members sometimes demanded hundreds of changes to textbook content they didn’t like, often for personal or political reasons rather than factual accuracy. If publishers didn’t make the changes, the state board could reject their textbooks for use in Texas public schools. But in 1995 the Legislature finally reined in this authority, requiring that the board approve any textbook that conforms to the state’s curriculum standards and is free… Read More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 19, 2017

The Texas Senate voted today to approve HB1291, which the Senate Education Committee revised to allow the State Board of Education by bypass legislative safeguards against textbook censorship. The House must now either approve the revised bill or send it to a conference committee.

The Senate version of HB1291 would allow SBOE members to reject textbook content they deem as not “suitable for the subject and grade level for which the instructional material was submitted.” That highly subjective standard would effectively sweep away strict limits the 1995 Legislature placed on the ability of the SBOE to edit textbook content.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller has the following statement:

“One word can change a lot, and indulging the misguided desire of politicians to decide which facts in public school textbooks are ‘suitable’ and which are not would be a disaster. This bill would effectively sweep away key safeguards against textbook censorship that the Legislature wisely put in place more than 20 years ago. So the facts Texas kids learn in their classrooms would be determined by whatever political majority controls the state board, not by teachers and scholars… Read More

Nearly two decades into the 21st century, the State Board of Education is set this week to fight — yet again – over what Texas public school students should learn about evolution in their science classrooms. Seriously.… Read More

In what seems like a never-ending battle in Texas, creationists are once again trying to make a mess of the science curriculum standards for the state's public schools. And once again, the Texas Freedom Network is organizing science education advocates to fight back.… Read More

The often deeply divided Texas State Board of Education just voted unanimously -- 14-0 -- to reject the controversial and error-plagued Mexican American Heritage textbook. (Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, was absent.) The board must vote again on Friday, but it would be very surprising if the board reverses today's decision.

It’s ironic that Cynthia Dunbar, whose company published the textbook, has succeeded in uniting a board she helped make a deeply divisive and dysfunctional mess when she served on it during a controversial four-year term that ended in 2010. But it’s clear that board members listened closely to scholars who documented hundreds of errors in a textbook they said portrayed Mexican-Americans as a threat to American society and values.… Read More