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Update – Texas PTA 3/30/09

Posted by Texas Education on March 30, 2009

Lots and lots of updates, this from Texas PTA:

Textbooks
The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) placed $895 million for textbooks in Article IX, also called the “wish list.”  In contrast, House Appropriations Committee (HAC) reduced the amount appropriated to $759 million, but guaranteed funding for this item in the budget bill.  Of the $895 million, approximately $547 million is in for Proclamation 2010, while the remainder is for continuing contracts.  The $137 million reduction found in the house is cut from the amount set aside for Proclamation 2010 materials and represents a 25 percent reduction.  The subcommittee believes that there was no incentive for textbook publishers to come in at a price under the maximum allowed for each text and hope that this reduction will incent them to do so or to deliver content through other more cost-effective methods.

Other Items in the Budget
In both versions of the budget bill is a rider allocating nearly $1.9 billion in additional funding to public education contingent on the passage of a bill that would increase equity and reduce recapture.  The HAC adopted its subcommittee’s recommendation that this rider be modified to include an educator salary increase as one of the goals of legislation that would trigger this funding.  Finally both the HAC and the SFC versions of the budget bill remove $6 million that was allocated for steroid testing.

STATE BUDGET READY FOR VOTE NEXT WEEK SAYS OGDEN
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden said that he plans to have a $177 billion budget ready for a vote late next week. He described the bill as “balanced” and said that the Rainy Day Fund won’t be needed to pay for it. This is due to the incoming federal stimulus funds that will create more spending for programs like Medicaid and job-training programs. If Ogden’s timeline holds, the bill should be on the Senate floor by next Thursday. The House is still working on its version of the 2010-2011 budget.

SB 300 APPROVED BY SENATE
Class Size Bill SB 300 was approved by the Senate this week, which amends provisions for a school district seeking exemption from the limit of a campus-wide average of 22 students per class. The latest version of the bill, which was sent to the House, allows school districts to apply for a waiver of the 22-1 class size rule for one year rather than the current law which requires a district to apply each semester. It also provides for districts to conduct emergency school bus evacuation training and mandates schools to create a “long-range energy plan” to reduce their energy consumption.

SBOE APPROVED SCIENCE STANDARDS
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) today passed science curriculum standards that are considered a compromise between those critical of teaching evolutionary theories and those who feared attacks on evolution would lead to the teaching of creationism in public schools. The 13-2 vote removes current requirements that students be taught the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories. Instead, teachers will be required to have students scrutinize “all sides” of scientific theories, a move criticized by evolution proponents. This week’s impassioned debate had scientists, teachers and textbook publishers from around the country focused on Texas, which, because of its size, influences much of what publishers put in textbooks. Today’s adoption comes after many months of back-and-forth over drafts for the standards, which were last revised in 1998.  The Discovery Institute, which encourages teaching that the universe is the result of “intelligent design,” called the vote “a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.”  By requiring students to critique the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection and mutations, the institute said in a statement, “Texas today moved to the head of the class.” “Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned,” said John West, a senior fellow at the institute. The standards also call for students to specifically analyze and evaluate evolutionary theory’s explanation for both the complexity of cells and the sudden appearance and lack of change in species in the fossil record. Though evolution advocates were happy with initial votes to remove language that implied that certain principals of evolution were “insufficient” to explain certain natural phenomena in cells and fossils, board members who pushed to include weaknesses of evolution said they were happy with the compromise. Board Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, who pushed for language challenging scientific explanations of cell complexity and fossil records, said the new wording still gets his point across. “The scientific community got its luster back,” McLeroy said. He and Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, one of the members behind several compromise proposals, both said the board ended up with a better document than it started with that morning. (Statesman)

FEDS REJECT PERRY’S ARGUMENT ON STIMULUS MONEY
Last week Governor Perry held a press conference to reject $555 million in federal unemployment insurance. The US Dept. of Labor has countered there is no penalty for states who reject an expansion of unemployment insurance rules in order to receive the stimulus money. The memo released by the Labor Dept. was written in mostly question and answer form, below is the excerpt where they refute Perry’s argument.

Question: UIPL No. 14-09 provides that applications for incentive payments should only be made under provisions of state laws that are currently in effect as permanent law and not subject to discontinuation. Does this mean that my state may never repeal any of the provisions that qualified it for a UC Modernization payment?

Answer: No. If a state eventually decides to repeal or modify any of these provisions, it may do so, and it will not be required to return any incentive payments. However, in providing the incentive payments, Congress clearly intended to support states that had already adopted certain eligibility provisions and to expand eligibility to additional beneficiaries by encouraging other states to adopt these provisions. By specifying that the provisions must be in effect as permanent law, Congress also made clear its intention that the benefit expansions not be transitory. While states are free to change or repeal the provisions on which modernization payments were based subsequent to receipt of incentive payments, Congress and the Department rely on states’ good faith in adopting the eligibility criteria, and the application must attest to this good faith as required by the following Q&A…”They’re saying, in essence, that states have the right to come back and change their standards later, but that legislation written to comply with the higher standards cannot include “sunset” provisions on those standards.

They can change back later, but can’t include that intention in their law at the outset.” This issue could certainly become contentious, as there are rumors swirling around the capitol about a special session due the disagreement between the legislature and Perry over the stimulus funds.
(Some info from Texas Weekly)

HOUSE PASSES FIRST BILL OF SESSION
HB 873 by Dawnna Dukes was passed out of the House on Wednesday. This marks the first piece of substantial legislation passed with more than half of the session over. Expect a flurry of bills to be passed and debated on the floor in the coming weeks.

BILL IS OK’D FOR GUNS IN WORKER’S CARS
The Texas Senate unanimously approved a SB 730 Wednesday that would allow Texans to bring guns and ammunition to work, even if their bosses said no.

Guns and shells would have to be kept out of sight in a locked car. Under the measure, employers could still bar employees from possessing guns in offices or company vehicles and in fenced parking lots to which access is restricted. (Statesman)

HOUSE TO TAKE UP VOTER ID OVER TWO DAYS
Representative Todd Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Elections, announced that he wants invited testimony before the committee to take place on April 6 and public testimony to be heard April 7. The reason for this is to avoid the wait time for some members of the public who waited for over 13 hours to testify when the Senate took up Voter ID. “I didn’t like the fact that the public didn’t have a chance to testify until the wee hours,” Smith said.

LEGISLATIVE REPORTS:
For information on all the bills being tracked by Texas PTA please click on the following links:

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Take a thorough look

Posted by Texas Education on March 28, 2009

strausThat’s what our lege leader, Joe Straus, said about the SBOE. Wow, likin’ this guy more and more.

The Texas Legislature should “take a thorough look” at changing the structure of the embattled Texas State Board of Education, maybe changing it to a nonpartisan or appointed board, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board Friday.

Straus said: “I think it’s unfair that the State Board of Education makes so much news in the manner that they make it.” Besides the board’s handling of science standards, Straus said, “I have some other concerns about that elected body having so much management authority over significant dollars,” referring to investments of the Permanent School Fund.

He said it would be “interesting” to look at nonpartisan board elections. Straus also brought up changing back to an appointed board.

“I’ve spoken to some people who were leaders in the effort to make it an elected board, and they’re very sorry,” he said.

Wow, I’d like to see that happen. And we get some not so wackos on it this time ’round, maybe say….Laura Ewing?

Posted in FYI, leadership, SBOE | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Texas State Board of Education Adopts Flawed Science Standards

Posted by Texas Education on March 27, 2009

Email from TFN (Texas Freedom Network) on the SBOE. A victory, no doubt, but we must stay cautious, at best. The update:

Just a short while ago, the Texas State Board of Education voted on new public school science standards that publishers will soon use to craft new science textbooks. This long-awaited decision is the culmination of TFN’s two-year Stand Up for Science campaign.

The good news is that the word “weaknesses” no longer appears in the science standards — this is a huge victory for those of us who support teaching 21st-century science that is free of creationist ideology.

The bad news is the final document still has plenty of potential footholds for creationist attacks on evolution to make their way into Texas classrooms.

Through a series of contradictory and convoluted amendments, the board crafted a road map that creationists will almost certainly use to pressure publishers into putting phony arguments attacking established science into textbooks. As TFN Communications Director Dan Quinn told the New York Times: “The State Board of Education pretty much slammed the door on ‘strengths and weaknesses,’ but then went around and opened all the windows in the house.”

What’s truly unfortunate is that we will have to revisit this entire debate in two years when new science textbooks are adopted in Texas.

While we did not succeed in ending this debate once and for all, I am extremely proud of the work we did together on this Stand Up for Science Campaign. Your testimony, calls and e-mails over these past months really made a difference in the outcome of this science debate — and the students of Texas are better off for it.

I sincerely hope you will consider participating in the last day of our Stand Up for Science matching gift challenge. Double your gift’s impact to TFN Education Fund by contributing today!

As you know, hostility toward science persists in our state. From stem cell research to responsible sex education, crucial public policies hang in the balance. As always, TFN will carry your support for mainstream values and sound science to our elected leaders.

Sincerely,

Kathy's Signature

Kathy Miller
President

Posted in SBOE, texas education | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

More on SBOE sessions

Posted by Texas Education on January 26, 2009

From Laura Ewing~

SBOE Actions Continue to Reinforce Concerns:

As I observed the SBOE sessions on January 22 and 23, 2009, my concern continued to increase over the members’ disregard for process and fair play. The actions simply add fuel to the reasons that Ellis introduced a bill to remove all legislatively given powers to the SBOE.

1. Why did the majority of the board vote on a substitute statement for the biology TEKS when that statement simply re-introduced the original evolution issue?
The original biology TEKS wording states:
Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to:
(A) Analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information; “

The majority of SBOE members voted against the above statement on Thursday. Yet, the majority voted to add several amendments to the TEKS, including, (2) Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods and equipment during field and laboratory investigations. The student is expected to:
A. know the definition of science and understand its limitations. (7) Science concepts. The student knows evolutionary theory is a scientific explanation for the unity and diversity of life. The student is expected to:
B. describe the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.

My three concerns are that (1) “sufficiency and insufficiency” is simply a substitute statement for “strengths and weaknesses.” (2) The new student expectations apply directly to evolution. (3) Several noted scientists in attendance expressed concern that this statement does not really make sense.

The second reading and final vote for the Science TEKS will be in March.

2. Why did 4/5 of the Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund vote to hire a company that charged twice as much as the others?
Agenda item: Approval of the Selection of a Firm to Provide Investment Counsel Services for the Permanent School Fund and Authorization for Contract Execution by the Commissioner of Education.

There were three firms brought forward for consideration.
• Kuhns, with the highest rating, requested an annual fee of approximately $430,000. They currently hold the contract with TEA.
• Kenupp, with the middle rating, requested an annual fee of approximately $418,000.
• New England Trust, with the lowest rating of the three, requested an annual fee of approximately $1,000,000.

The newly appointed committee, which included members who had no prior experience working directly with these issues, voted 4 to 1 to recommend hiring New England Trust. Bradley, Nunez, Agosto, and Dunbar voted for. Lowe voted against.
On Friday, the full SBOE voted to postpone the decision till the March meeting.

Two notes of concern: 1. The PSF investments were not found to be tainted by the Madoff Scandal. However, New England had made investments with Madoff. Does this bode well for their decision-making process? 2. Why did the committee vote to end a contractual agreement with a firm (Kuhns) that has a strong reputation for integrity and knowledge and enter into a contract with a company (New England) that will charge twice as much?

One last note: the committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund does have long agendas to discuss at every meeting. So, they are going to meet during the off months in Austin so they have more time to deliberate. While I agree that they need more time, will this reduce the transparency of their deliberations and decisions?

3. Why did one PSF committee member not recuse himself from the votes when he had a conflict of interest?
Mr. Agosto, SBOE District 3, held a meeting with New England Trust. He stated that this meeting had to do with his personal business and not that of the SBOE. An internal audit was conducted, and it was recommended that because of his business dealings with the firm that Mr. Agosto recuse himself from the discussions and votes. He did not do so. Furthermore, when Geraldine Miller attempted to raise concerns about his participating in the process, Mr. McLeroy told her that her comments were not pertinent to the discussion on the selection of a firm to provide investment counsel services. I believe her discussion was very pertinent.

4. Why does the greater metropolitan Houston area have only 6 teachers on the social studies TEKS committee?
The social studies TEKS are the next ones to undergo the refinement process. Educators, parents and community members were encouraged to apply to serve the refinement committees. Each member of the SBOE pulls from those applications and makes his/her own nominations. However, only 6 people (all from Conroe) have been included from Houston and its suburbs. The region with the largest population was not included because its representatives (Dunbar, Leo and Allen) did not appoint anyone. Bradley only appointed two community members from Lumberton, which is not even in the district he represents, District 7. So, our district has NO representation in the TEKS refinement process.

5. What are some possible changes to the SBOE?
Six of us met with Representative Howard on January 22 to recommend possible changes to the SBOE. Those suggestions are here here.

Posted in learning, SBOE, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News from TFN: A Big Win, but…

Posted by Texas Education on January 22, 2009

Just two days ago, President Barack Obama spoke of the need to “restore science to its rightful place” and promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.”

Texas took a big step toward this new age of science today. But some new obstacles have appeared along the path.

Just hours ago, the State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 8-7 to reject efforts by creationists to reinsert into draft curriculum standards sweeping language — “strengths and weaknesses” — used to undermine sound science education. If this vote stands, a key weapon creationists have used to attack evolution will be swept from the standards.

But creationists on the board managed to sneak through other changes that complicate important parts of the standards. One change would have students question a core concept of evolutionary biology, common descent. It was a stunning display of arrogance, with the board’s far-right faction pretending to know more about science than the teachers and scientists who crafted the standards draft.

Clearly, then, this is not a time to be complacent. The Texas Freedom Network is redoubling our critical efforts. In fact, we’re working around the clock to fight off the radical right’s dangerous attempts to undermine our children’s science education and their chances to succeed in college and the jobs of the future.

The final vote on the science curriculum standards is slated for March — only a few weeks away! So the battle is not over and we can not succeed without your urgently needed help.

Today, I urge you to take 2 actions:

  1. Make a special donation to TFN in honor of educators, innovators, researchers and all those committed to teaching sound science over political ideology.
  2. Sign the Stand Up for Science petition and forward this message to friends and family so that they can lend their names to this important cause.

Thank you for all you do for TFN. You are a critical partner in our work, and together we can Stand Up for Science!

Sincerely,
kmillersig2
Kathy Miller
President

P.S. Don’t forget to forward the Stand Up for Science petition to your friends and family so that they may add their name to our efforts. Click here to forward this important message.

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Texas Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties to counter the radical right.

Make a donation to support the work of TFN.

Posted in Good Stuff, Higher Ed, In-the-news, teaching | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The latest from TFN – Texas Freedom Network

Posted by Texas Education on January 20, 2009

Our campaign for a 21st-century science education in Texas public schools has entered a crucial phase. Your help in this campaign can make a real difference this week.

This Wednesday the State Board of Education will hear public testimony on proposed science curriculum standards. The new draft standards reject efforts by creationists to undermine instruction on evolution. They also make it clear that supernatural explanations like creationism/“intelligent design” have no place in public school science classes. But creationists who control the state board are insisting that the standards require students to learn phony “weaknesses” of evolution. They want to force publishers to include those bogus arguments in new biology textbooks.

Take Action!

Help us turn back efforts to sabotage the education of Texas schoolchildren by standing up for science this week!SUFS

  • Click here to sign up to testify before the State Board of Education IN SUPPORT OF THE DRAFT STANDARDS at the public hearing on Wednesday. The board will hear only four hours of testimony. But even if you don’t get a chance to speak, adding your name in support of the draft standards is very important. Also, supporters of the draft standards will WEAR GREEN at the hearing to show their support for a sound science education.
  • Tell your state board member that you SUPPORT the draft science standards and OPPOSE efforts to water down the curriculum by opening the door to phony attacks against evolution. Click here to find the name and contact information for your State Board of Education member. Once you have the name of your board member, you can also click here to send an e-mail to him or her in care of the Texas Education Agency.
  • Donate to the Texas Freedom Networks’ Stand Up for Science campaign. Your contribution will help ensure that the next generation of Texas schoolchildren gets a 21st-century science education that helps them succeed in college and the jobs of the future.

Stay Informed!

We want to keep you informed about action at the State Board of Education on this critical issue.

  • TFN Insider will live-blog from State Board of Education on Wednesday. TFN Insider will also post updates throughout the week.
  • Click here to subscribe to TFN News Clips and stay informed on this and other important issues.

Thank you for all you do to support a sound science education for Texas schoolchildren.

Sincerely,
kmillersig2
Kathy Miller
President

Posted in leadership, teaching, Texas schools | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

ABCD

Posted by Texas Education on December 10, 2008

I just noticed another search to get to my site, “Cynthia Dunbar.” Also, I was searching, please don’t ask, I search for anything and everything, and came across, an article by LISA FALKENBERG, just love her! on our infamous friend about her book. I wish, and one of the main reasons I blog about Texas Education, more and more and more people would see the leaders (and I use that term loosely) that they have elected to run our “government schools”:

“Public education is tyrannical, unconstitutional and the Satan-following Left’s “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” And parents who surrender their children to government-run schools are “throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

These aren’t the beliefs of just any right-wing Christian zealot — no offense to the right wing or to Christians in general — but one who was elected by Texas voters to help shape the curriculum for all of Texas’ 4.5 million public schoolchildren.

Oh kay! Isn’t this a conflict of interest? Wouldn’t the reason she is on the board is to undermine public schools? Isn’t there anything we can do to get her off since the people don’t know what the heck they are doing? This is appalling, decitful, and downright unethical. I think when she runs next time I’m going to run the ABCD campaign…Anything But Cynthia Dunbar! Kinda catchy, eh?  Worse yet;

In a piece for Christianworldviewnetwork.com, Dunbar wrote that Obama, the terrorist sympathizer, would bring tyranny to America by declaring martial law after his accomplices attack our soil.

The commentary, condemned by conservatives and progressives alike, was quickly removed from the Web site.

But her book is available at Amazon.com for anyone to read, even a tool-of-Satan, mainstream media columnist like me.
[…]

Obama as Hitler?

The Founding Fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and, thus, every person who wants to govern in this country should have “sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God.”

Dunbar argues that America’s declining, immoral society is in need of Christian soldiers who will rise up to save it. At one point, she proclaims that the similarities between our society and that of “pre-Holocaust” Nazi Germany are “striking.”

She lists the similarities, and then comes to the leadership component.

“Well, I guess that is the one missing ingredient,” she writes. “After all, we certainly lack a charismatic, driven leader with a hidden agenda, a leader who comes out of nowhere who seems to command the awe and allegiance of many. Or are we?”

This elected state official seems to be suggesting our newly elected president could be the next Adolf Hitler.

Lisa sums it up rather nicely: “Whether it’s about reading, evolution or a far-right version of Bible curriculum she and other board members are pushing, Cynthia Dunbar is touching every public schoolchild in Texas.”

Oh but there’s more on Dunbar (I can’t with all conscious put a Ms. in front of her name) Steve Blow at the Dallas News wants to nominate Little Miss Sunshine 2008 Texan of the Year. I’m pretty sure he is using sarcasm, you think? She can stir up hornets nests like no other.

Taking down America is one thing, but our Official State Cassandra sees conspiracies lurking right here in Texas classrooms, too.

As a member of the State Board of Education, she pledges “to fight for parental control over hidden socialistic, humanistic agendas.”

In fact, she calls public education itself a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” (Her kids have been home-schooled and attended private school.)

I lalso found someone who blogs about our own Little Miss Sunshine 2008 Texan of the Year (hey, that just might stick.)  Justorb has a few choice words here and here to say about her. But, then with someone as crazy as CD, you could throw a rock and probably hit someone who would have a few choice words to say about her.  So, how the heck do these people keep getting elected when they can even pi$$ off some of their own kind because they are so far off the planet?

And it’s certainly people like her that make me ashamed to put Texas behind my name. She is an honest to goodness…wow, I can’t even think of a word that truly describes this loon.

Posted in bizzare, completely unbelievable, Ethics, leadership, say what???, SBOE, texas education | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SBOE Member Dunbar in hot water again!

Posted by Texas Education on December 7, 2008

Capitol Annex has an article about Ms. Dunbar and her antics getting her in hot water.

Fresh from her statements that an Obama administration would result in martial law in the United States, right-wing State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar is now in hot water as a result of a new book she has written in which advocates for, among other things, a “biblican litmus test” to guide government.

The Houston Chronicle has a rundown on the book:

In her book, One Nation Under God, Dunbar argues that the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and believed that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.”

Dunbar endorses a belief system requiring “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

She calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she writes in the book, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.

Dunbar defends herself by claiming the text wasn’t written for the general public, but rather as “an educational tool to the body of Christ:”

“I don’t think most people in the churches are aware of the venom against Christian America,” she said. “So, it’s more of a wake-up call to be informed, to be involved. They are fine with the body of Christ as long as we stay hidden in our four walls of the church, sitting quietly in our pews.

“But if we become civically involved or active in public policy issues, then we’re going to be shot down,” Dunbar said.

The Texas Freedom Network, an organization that monitors the influence of the Religious Right in Texas, is rightfully calling on SBOE Chairman Don McLeroy to remove Dunbar (R-Richmond) from the board’s Committee on Instruction:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Real Science or Personal Beliefs?

Posted by Texas Education on November 13, 2008

A post by By Mary Vogas

It’s time to get involved  so our children will be taught sound science principles in the schools in Texas!  The countdown is in its final moments!  The Texas State Board of Education will be meeting in Austin on Nov. 18 – 21, 2008.  They will be looking at the science curriculum standards for Texas public schools.  The last time changes were made in the  science standards was a decade ago.

The SBOE will be deciding if sound science will be replaced by political and religious beliefs.  That’s because some members of the SBOE are hung up on ideology that evolution is just about humans and apes. But in biology, evolution refers to changes in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next.  The science community has spoken that biological evolution is a fact and has been proven.  There are over 100,000 published biological research studies that state that evolution is a fact. Even Pope Benedict XVI has said that evolution can coexist with faith. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/)  What has not been proven is how it occurs.  So the fact that evolution occurs has nothing to do with whether you believe that God created life on earth or not.  That is the “how” that science has not proven and scientists do not suggest that they have.  If the SBOE rules that evolution is not a fact and classrooms around the state start teaching that erroneous concept, we will produce students indoctrinated with incorrect science principles!  It is a priority to some of the SBOE members to weaken teaching evolution as a fact.  We need to listen to professionals when updating our science curriculum, not lay people that use their own ideas to decide what Texas students will be taught!

The textbooks that would be forthcoming would be filled with wrong information!  And, as you know, the textbooks that Texas buys will be bought in many other parts of the country.  Texas could be  the cause of our whole nation going down the wrong path in science!  We are already lagging in comparison to other countries in science test scores; so think where we will be if these changes are made!

What happens in Texas will reshape what happens in the rest of the country.  So, get up and and get involved now before we have to wait another 10 years to undo the mess that will be upon us from the SBOE!  Public testimony will be on November 19.  Go to the following link http://www.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/schedule/2008/november/full_board.html

To register for public testimony, follow the directions here:
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/op_rules.html#publictestimony

The science standards on which you will be testifying are here:
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/scienceTEKS.html>

Posted in Ethics, leadership, teaching, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What’s wrong with this picture?

Posted by Texas Education on November 11, 2008

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) gives another shout out about Cynthia Dunbar’s vicious attacks on President-elect Obama. I got a lot of emails on this about her attacks the weekend before election day, “Dunbar suggested that Sen. Obama is a traitor, charging that he “truly sympathizes” with enemies who want to destroy America. She also questioned his American citizenship and warned that he would try to grab more power by declaring martial law if terrorists do attack our nation.”

Whatever your political beliefs, this is certainly someone we DO NOT NEED on our State Board of Education and in our children’s public schools or someone who determines what more than 4.6 million Texas children learn in their public schools.

TFN is suggesting we:

TAKE ACTION!

Enough is enough! No matter who you supported for president, we should all be able to agree that Dunbar’s extremism is outrageous and even dangerous in our democracy. Just imagine the kind of nonsense that Dunbar and her fellow board radicals are likely to promote in our childrens’ public school classrooms over the next two years.

You can do two things right now to stand against Dunbar’s extremism:

1. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today. Express (in your own words) what you think about Dunbar’s outrageous remarks. Call on her to retract those remarks or to step down from the state board.

To improve the chances that your letter will be published, keep it short (150 words or less, unless the newspaper specifies otherwise) and stick to one clear point. You can click on a newspaper below to submit your letter. Or if you live in another city, check with your local newspaper to learn about submitting a letter.

Austin American-Statesman
Houston Chronicle
San Antonio Express-News
Dallas Morning News
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
You can learn more about writing letters to the editor by clicking here.

2. Donate to the Texas Freedom Network and help us stand for mainstream values and against extremism on the State Board of Education. Dunbar’s far-right allies on the board work each year to censor our schoolchildren’s textbooks on issues such as teaching about evolution, sex education and the role of women in the modern world. We need your help to keep radical political agendas out of our children’s public schools!

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Dunbar is a Richmond Republican whose district stretches from west of Houston to Williamson and Travis counties. Her term runs to the end of 2010. The board, which is controlled by a far-right faction that includes Dunbar, determines what more than 4.6 million Texas children learn in their public schools.

Click here to read more. Click here and here to read how editorial boards and columnists have sharply criticized Dunbar’s venomous diatribe.

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