The SBOE’s ‘Hall of Shame’

In the Texas Freedom Network’s nearly 14 years of existence, we have seen plenty of nonsense come out of the Texas State Board of Education. Board members have attacked health textbooks for including even basic information on contraception and photographs of women in professional careers (rather than sufficiently promoting stay-at-home moms as the ideal). They have criticized social studies textbooks for not portraying Muslims and their religion as, apparently, somehow depraved and evil. They have demanded, to the dismay of classroom teachers, that language arts classes return to the teaching strategies of the past to deal with the challenges of today. They insisted that the board withdraw from the National Association of State Boards of Education because that organization dared to support efforts to protect gay and lesbian students from bullying and harassment. (In fact, some board members seem to be obsessed with exposing the “homosexual agenda” –whatever that is — in Texas public schools.) The list goes on and on. Now, of course, the state board has turned its attention to revising public school science standards and to an ideological crusade promoting state-imposed challenges to evolution.

TFN’s Web site has put together a list of some of the most recent examples of nonsense and extremism from the state board. Please check it out. We anticipate that the list will grow considerably in coming months.

Note: Posting to TFN Insider will be lighter than normal during the next two weeks, although we will try to keep readers updated on important news. We wish everyone a very happy and peaceful holiday season.

4 thoughts on “The SBOE’s ‘Hall of Shame’

  1. Maybe the SBOE has a point. Contraception is not string theory, it can probably be handled by a pamphlet available upon inquirey at the nurses office, unless, of course, the students can’t read, then we have a much worse problem. Perhaps it is no coincidence that religions have opposed contraception and homosexuality. Opposition to these might improve the overall fitness of the religious groups in getting their genes to the next generation, assuming one subscribes to group selection.

    Any history of the importance of Islam in inspiring followers to end slavery, encouraging religious tolerance, encouraging contraception and tolerance of the homosexual phenotype, supporting rights for individuals, women and minorities, and other hallmarks of western civilization should of course be taught to achieve historical balance, if it is significant enough to merit class time.

    There is research supporting a return to the teaching of phonics, or at least to the more modern and complete forms of phonics, such as Phono-Graphix. It probably took geniuses to invent our writing system, which added the complexity of historical pronounciation changes along the way. Many students have difficulty at the college level because they haven’t been taught this system, and have made some bad guesses at its inner workings along the way.

    Bullying should not be tolerated period. Respect for individual rights shouldn’t be tied to homosexuality, it is as redundant as hate crime legislation. The problem of maintaining genes that potentially contribute to the homosexual phenotype expressed in our civilization needs to be considered, in any central planning because mistakes are magnified in this type of system. The phenotypic expression of these genes may have been quite different and perhaps even improved fitness in societies where phenotypes other than the homosexualily were nourished. The effective size of the modern human population is only about 10,000 with most of that genetic variation inside Africa. We should not encourage the loss of genetic diversity lightly. Of course, when it comes to behavior, humans can be flexible, the parents and individuals involved can make a decision not to express phenotypes which reduce fitness, and perhaps search to express the adaptive benefits these genes might have had. Families shouldn’t reject individuals that are persistent in expressing the homosexual phenotype, they may be rejectiing the adaptive value of these genes, if the phenotype increases the resources available to those in the family that might share those same genes, even if the individuals don’t transmit the genes themselves. Evolution will be of future use to very few of the graduating students, but if there is a value, it is probably in understanding value of the genetic diversity that we have.

  2. Where is the Hall of Shame for Judge John E. Jones III, who showed extreme prejudice against Intelligent Design and the Dover defendants — regardless of whether or not ID is a religious concept — by saying in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Dover decision was based on his cockamamie notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not “true” religions. Where is the Hall of Shame for the Darwinist blogs and bloggers — Panda’s Thumb, Florida Citizens for Science, Ed Brayton, PZ Myers, Wesley Elsberry, and Jason Rosenhouse — that arbitrarily censor blog visitors’ comments. Where is the Hall of Shame for the Texas Freedom Network, that posted Ben’s comments personally attacking me but censored my reply.

  3. We have disapproved only a handful of comments (and from just two or three posters) because we try to provide as much freedom as possible within the bounds of our stated comments policy. We reserve the right to disapprove and delete any comment that, in our sole opinion, is too far outside those bounds. Posters who do not see their comments approved are free to post revised comments. Please note that we have not disapproved comments because we disagreed with the opinions stated. We will not, however, engage in a debate over our moderation decisions.