TFN and the Textbook Wars Head to Tribeca!

by Dan Quinn

We’re excited to tell you that the Texas Freedom Network’s fight against textbook censorship and efforts to politicize public education will be part of a new documentary film premiering this weekend at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. “The Revisionaries” explores how far-right radicals on the State Board of Education in Texas worked from 2008 to 2010 to undermine the teaching of evolution and rewrite history in a campaign to indoctrinate public school students with their ideological agenda.

Here’s a trailer for the new film:

The film will also be screened at the Dallas International Film Festival this Sunday (April 22), the Independent Film Festival in Boston on April 30 and the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto beginning on May 1. Click here for more information about the screenings, including dates and locations.

TFN President Kathy Miller will attend the screenings at Tribeca and in Dallas and will also take part in panel discussions about the film and how the radical right is trying to hijack public education in America.

Director Scott Thurman of Texas has worked on the film for nearly four years, throughout the State Board of Education’s controversial revisions of science (2008-09) and social studies (2009-10) curriculum standards. His film also features former state board chairman Don McLeroy, former board member Cynthia Dunbar, Professor Ron Wetherington from Southern Methodist University and other key players in the battles over the curriculum standards.

Even the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute has given low marks to both sets of standards, especially those for social studies. A Fordham report called the new standards for American history “a political distortion of history” with “misrepresentations at every turn.” Fordham criticized the science standards as “sketchy,” “redundant,” “riddled with errors,” and “woefully imbalanced.”

Because of the size of the Texas market, the state has a significant influence on what publishers put in the textbooks they sell across the country. Now new audiences will see how creationists and other right-wing pressure groups here are undermining public education beyond Texas as well.