Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available). Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year. David Williams, District 3, R-San Antonio (Current District 3 Board Member: Michael Soto, D-San Antonio) David Williams, an algebra teacher at a private school in San Antonio, has announced he will run for the District 3 SBOE seat currently held by Michael Soto. Williams' website is davidwilliamsdistrict3.com. Read More

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year.

Veronica Anzaldua, District 2, R-McAllen (Current District 2 Board Member: Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi)

Veronica Anzaldua of McAllen has announced that she will seek Republican nomination for the Texas State Board of Education in District 2. The seat is currently held Mary Helen Berlanga, who… Read More

The conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute has posted a new essay following up on the organization’s January report giving low marks to science curriculum standards in most states, including Texas. Dr. Paul R. Gross, an emeritus professor of life sciences at the University of Virginia, writes for Fordham’s Education Gadfly e-newsletter that weak coverage of evolution is a product both of religious objections and politics.

“A focused combination of politics with religion, in pursuit of (or opposed to) governmental action, is vastly more effective than either one alone.

By themselves … religious anti-evolutionists would wield scant power over state decisions. Real power comes by politicizing the arguments and switching them from scripture to more stylish notions: ‘scientific alternatives,’ ‘critical thinking,’ or—most commonly—’strengths and weaknesses of [Darwin’s] theory.’ When these are pressed by politicians dissing ‘Darwinism,’ a downgrading of science is underway.”

Gross writes that increasing efforts in state legislatures to politicize and undermine the teaching of evolution have serious consequences for science even if proposed anti-evolution measures don’t pass:

“(T)hey can still have real effect on classroom teaching, on textbook content and selection, as well as on the curriculum as taught. All this political activity and… Read More

Seems that it’s not just the Texas State Board of Education that wants to revise American history to fit a particular ideological agenda. Now Tennessee Tea Party activists are trying to do the same thing in their state. From the Wall Street Journal:

The late comedian George Carlin used to say America was built on a double standard: “This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.”

We wonder how his joke would have sat with members of Tennessee’s tea party, which just presented state legislators with five priorities for action, including amending state laws governing school curriculums to change textbook selection so that “no portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

Hal Rounds, an attorney and a spokesman for the group, said the goal is to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another,” according to the Commercial Appeal.

“Made up”? Does he think some of the founders didn’t have slaves? That Indians… Read More

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Dexter Smith, District 8, D-Friendswood (Current District 8 Board Member: Barbara Cargill-R-The Woodlands)

On Dec. 12, educator Dexter Smith filed to run as a Democrat in SBOE Dist. 7. The seat is currently held by David Bradley, R-Beaumont, who is running for reelection. Smith’s website is dextersmith4sboe.com.

My name is Dexter Smith. I am a father of four. My wife’s name is Toya and we have been married… Read More