Last week, the State Board of Education (SBOE) voted to adopt the social studies curriculum, after having bowed to the demands of extremists and conspiracy theorists in choosing to delay the revision of Texas’ social studies curriculum, referred to as the Social Studies TEKs, back in August. The result is that Texas schools won’t have the tools they need to teach the truth in social studies classes.
In final votes last week, the Republican majority rejected efforts to include even some of the proposed improvements, choosing instead to adopt minimally revised standards. Now, the education of Texas students will continue to be guided by outdated and politicized standards for at least another four years.
TFN has always fought for Texas school children at the SBOE. But our work would be impossible without the dedication of volunteers who sign up to testify, recruit others to testify, organize at local school board levels, and respond to our various calls to action. The past week’s developments motivate us to keep fighting at the SBOE, and recently, we sat down with a super volunteer and parent for a brief chat. This is the second installment of a running series.
Meet Sharon LaDay, a big reason we’re thankful this year!
Sharon has been active within the Round Rock School District and has helped coordinate efforts to get more parents involved at the local level.
TFN: Why did you decide to volunteer with TFN?
SL: TFN modeled a political engagement strategy that resonated with me. They connect and work really well with other progressive organizations in allyship, which was how I was first introduced to them. They also demonstrate competency and sincerity, and I think their messaging educates and motivates volunteers to take action. Beyond that, when it’s time to act, TFN will patiently educate and guide newcomers into effectively sharing their voices and stories when engaging with the political process.
TFN: If you had the power to change things in Texas today, what would you first touch?
SL: I would eliminate scarcity thinking–which I see as the root of economic fear and the litany of other fears our state’s leadership uses to govern. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, “the world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
TFN: Why do you think it’s important to show up for our community?
SL: We must be willing to engage in critical discussions about the governance and allocation of resources for our communities and represent the positive values of progress while doing so. I no longer believe that neutrality can protect me or my community, and to achieve positive outcomes that benefit all Texans, we must be engaged civically and politically.
TFN: What’s your message for Texans who say things will work themselves out?
SL: When in history has it ever “worked out” when fear and hatred had absolute power and the reasonable people were sitting and waiting for things to get better?
As developments at the SBOE this past week remind us, we have a continuous duty to fight for the right of Texas schools to teach the truth, and for our children to get an accurate, honest, and quality education. Our Teach the Truth campaign and TFN will continue working with public education advocates, parents, and volunteers like Sharon to reject censorship, book bans, and far-right efforts to whitewash the past.