TFN to Receive National Freedom Award

A major education group will present the Texas Freedom Network with its 2009 National Intellectual Freedom Award this month for our efforts to help teachers counter political attacks on sound curriculum standards in Texas public schools.

We are very grateful and profoundly humbled by this honor from the 50,000-member National Council of Teachers of English. TFN President Kathy Miller will accept the award at the NCTE’s national conference in Philadelphia on Nov. 19.

But we also think it’s important to highlight the hard work of dedicated teachers who have been promoting sound curriculum standards in language arts as well as science, social studies and other Texas classrooms. They truly have been in the trenches with us in this long fight to ensure that Texas schoolchildren get an education based on sound scholarship, not political and ideological agendas.

You can read more about the NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Award here. Please see NCTE’s press release after the jump.

NCTE/SLATE Announces 2009 National Intellectual Freedom Award

Nov. 3, 2009

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has awarded the 2009 NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Award to the Texas Freedom Network in Austin, Texas, for supporting the state’s educators and working to be sure their voices are heard.

When the Texas State Board of Education in 2008 presented and ultimately adopted a new English language arts curriculum, the Texas Freedom Network supported the Coalition of Reading and English Supervisors of Texas in getting its position out to a wider audience through the media. Throughout the adoption process the Texas Freedom Network honored the expertise of English language arts educators while crafting and delivering the messages, and since the final vote on the curriculum, the organization has continued to support the work of the teachers and to fight for intellectual freedom in Texas schools by educating reporters and the public.

Founded in 1995, the Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of more than 30,000 religious and community leaders. The Texas Freedom Network works with educators, classroom teachers, and experts from colleges and universities across Texas to ensure that curriculum and textbooks approved by the state’s Board of Education reflect the very best scholarship in every subject area.

The NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Award will be presented to Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, at the Thursday General Session on November 19 during the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Established in 1997, the NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Award is given by a joint subcommittee of the SLATE (Support for the Learning and Teaching of English) Steering Committee and the NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship to individuals, groups, or institutions that merit recognition for advancing the cause of intellectual freedom. The winners of this award have shown courage in advancing the cause of intellectual freedom or fighting censorship; and the winners’ activity is related to particular recent events (e.g., as in a censorship dispute) or is ongoing (e.g., as in leadership demonstrated over a period of years).

Since 1975, SLATE has been an NCTE Standing Committee on social and political concerns. SLATE seeks to influence public attitudes and policy decisions affecting the teaching of English language arts at local, state, and national levels. SLATE makes no policy of its own, but seeks to implement and publicize the polities adopted by NCTE. SLATE serves as NCTE’s intellectual freedom network.

Peggy Adair, Omaha, Nebraska, and Carrie Faust, Aurora, Colorado, won this year’s honorable mention awards.

For more information about the NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Award, see


The National Council of Teachers of English (, with 50,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.

5 thoughts on “TFN to Receive National Freedom Award

  1. Hey, where’s our cut? Oh, you’re gonna be like that about it, huh? Well, congratulations on the great work.

    I’ll just be over here, enjoying the roll of Smarties I gave myself for a commenting job well done. Yay me!

  2. Giving this award to TFN just goes to show you that the whole educational establishment in America is a sold out tool of the far left and that incumbent educators hate Jesus every bit as much as every other organization like TFN in Texas and around this great nations of ours. Sorry, I gotta quit, the phone was ringing and it’s Rush on the line.

  3. Finally, someone willing to speak to power! Now if you only had somewhere to plug in to. What? No, not there; That’s where his cyst is located.

  4. Texas Freedom Network is an aggressive, leftwing, political organization that is completely out of step with today’s parents who want their children to learn foundational skills that will help them to become well-informed leaders of tomorrow.

    TFN has a well-defined political/social agenda for our school children; and the purpose of TFN is to practice the politics of personal destruction on the conservative members of the Texas State Board of Education and anyone else who holds the same principled beliefs.

    TFN staffers have never bothered to read an entire textbook, critique it, research the contents, list factual errors, and go through the laborious yet legitimate textbook adoption process. TFN prefers to hold press conferences, highlight statements in textbooks that are taken out of context, and steal the attention of the all-too-willing liberal media who then go out and spread misinformation and bias across the country.

    In recent years, TFN has lost the battle over the English / Language Arts / Reading standards. The ones passed by the majority of the elected SBOE members are much improved over the old ones and stress phonics, grammar, usage, spelling, penmanship, expository and persuasive writing, research writing, and the great pieces of literature along with their characteristics.

    TFN also lost the battle over the new Science standards that will now require teachers to teach all sides of scientific theories including the weaknesses of evolution.

    After TFN suffered these resounding defeats with the SBOE, Kathy Miller decided to go across the street to the Texas Legislature where she found TFN board member, Rep. Donna Howard.

    Working with Rep. Howard, the ACLU Texas, Alliance for Clean Texas, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Equality Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice, Sierra Club, Stand Down Texas, TAPPA, Texas Impact, and The Texas Observer, TFN filed 15 anti-SBOE bills during the 2009 Legislative session.

    Only one out of fifteen bills passed the Legislature, and that bill simply requires that the SBOE meetings be video streamed.

    Kathy Miller thought she and TFN had achieved a great victory when they managed to convince 11 Democrat Senators to vote against McLeroy’s confirmation as chair of the SBOE even though 19 Republicans voted for him. Because of the two-thirds rule, however, McLeroy was not confirmed; but an equally capable new chair was appointed by Gov. Perry — Gail Lowe. Lowe holds the same conservative views about education as McLeroy does. TFN has been defeated once again!

    Because Texas Freedom Network has injected itself into decisions that impact Texas public school students, I need to ask parents:

    In 1995, TFN was founded by Cecile Richards, daughter of Texas’ liberal Democrat Governor, Ann Richards. Cecile is the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and still serves on the TFN Board of Directors. Cecile was deputy chief of staff for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and worked with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). SEIU is closely associated with ACORN.

    When Cecile left for Washington, D. C., Samantha Smoot took Cecile’s place. When Samantha left for Washington, D. C. in 2005, she went to work for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexual organization in the country.

    TFN, Planned Parenthood, and the Human Rights Campaign work together as “triplet sisters.”

    The Chair of the TFN Education Fund is Janis Pinelli, who gave campaign contributions to Obama, Hillary Clinton, Emily’s List, the Texas Democratic Party, and Rick Noriega for Governor.

    Also on the TFN Education Board of Directors is Dale Linebarger who is treasurer. He is the Senior Advisor to Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. This firm started collecting debts for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2006 after a generous lobbying effort of half a million dollars to pressure Congress to hire outside bill collectors instead of requiring the IRS staff to do the job more inexpensively (Business Week, 8.25.06). Dale Linebarger made political contributions to Obama, Ruben Hinojosa, Al Franken, Lloyd A. Doggett, Ken Salazar, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Border Health PAC.

    Why does Border Health PAC sound familiar? According to Texas Monthly (Aug. 2009), Border Health PAC gives politicians huge contributions “to order expensive medical procedures” and has come under scrutiny because of the New Yorker (June 2009) article that stated the costs of treating Medicare patients in McAllen are twice the national average. “The primary cause of McAllen’s extreme costs was, very simply, the across-the-board overuse of medicine.” Dale Linebarger gave monthly contributions to Border Health PAC throughout 2008.

    Rev. Dr. Larry Bethune is also on the TFN Board Education Board of Directors. He is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church (Austin, Texas). As stated on its website, UBC is sometimes “in conflict with the views of the wider religious community and secular society…in the 1990s it ordained a homosexual deacon.” Bethune has stated that he opposes “attempts to dilute, distort, or censor the teaching of evolution in biology textbooks.”

    Also on the TFN Education Board of Directors is Diane Iresone (Clinical Social Worker) who has given political contributions to Obama, John Kerry, Lloyd A. Doggett, John Edwards, Emily’s List, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton.

    Rebecca Lightsey is on the TFN Education Board of Directors and is an attorney and executive director of Texas Appleseed that focuses on social justice issues. Lightsey worked on Governor Ann Richards’ staff and supported Democrat Rick Noriega for Governor of Texas.

    Rhonda Gerson is the Chair of TFN and has given campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton, Democrat Senator Carl Levin, and Emily’s List.

    Texas Representative Donna Howard (Democrat) is a board member of TFN. NARAL Pro-Choice has given Howard a 100% rating. Texas Eagle Forum gave Howard a rating of 8% in the 2009 legislative session.

    After reading this list of left-wing individuals who are involved with Texas Freedom Network, I hope the next time you hear Kathy Miller interviewed by the media, you will carefully “consider the source!” She wants to demonize the people who represent traditional values and undercut their efforts to raise academic standards for our students.