Add Terri Leo to the list of irresponsible Texas State Board of Education members attacking the faith of teachers and others who are helping revise the state’s social studies curriculum standards. She’s also not telling the truth, and she knows it.
In a column for the Texas GOP Vote blog, Ms. Leo repeats the lie that curriculum writers are engaged in a “war on Christmas.” As we have already reported, curriculum writers — teachers, academics and other community members — had suggested listing Easter but not Christmas as an example of a Christian holiday in a Grade 6 course on world cultures. The curriculum writers added Diwali as an example of a Hindu festival alongside Ramadan for Islam and Yom Kippur for Judaism.
As a teacher painstakingly explained to Ms. Leo and everybody else at a state board meeting two weeks ago, she and the other curriculum writers were simply listing examples. They wanted one example of a holiday or other observance for each of the major religions in a course about people and cultures around the world. The curriculum writers weren’t trying to keep students from learning about Christmas. In fact, they knew — as does Ms. Leo — that nearly every school in the state (in the country!) will teach students about Christmas. And does Ms. Leo think there are many students who don’t already know what Christmas is? Really?
Of course, Ms. Leo knows all this. But she still decided on Monday to launch another vicious attack on the motivations of the curriculum writers who are working — on their own time, without pay — to help draft the new standards:
“This is just another ridiculous attack on Christmas from the far left fringe of society. I will be voting against this recommendation by the writing panels, and I will insist on a record vote so that constituents will know which way their SBOE member voted on this.”
Well, you do that.
But Christmas will already have been added to the list of examples. Ms. Leo knows that, too, because the curriculum team’s representative told the board two weeks ago. But she still wants to grandstand, pretending to be the great defender of Christmas against some phony “war” by teachers … er… “the far left fringe of society.”
Sadly, the curriculum writers have discovered the hard way that whatever they do, right-wing fanatics like Ms. Leo will be ready to bully and smear them. Why? Because she cares more about scoring cheap political points, even if that means attacking the faith of people — including other Christians — who care more about educating Texas kids. Shame on her.