Tag Archives: SBOE

Creationism isn’t science

The numbskulls who occupy most of the 15 seats on the Texas Board of Education need to have their heads examined.

The move is afoot to require public school teachers in Texas to teach creationism alongside evolution, believing that both notions are scientific theories that need to be treated equally.

Forgive me for what I am about to say, yet again. Creationism is not a scientific theory. It is an article of religious faith that belongs in church Sunday school classrooms, not in public schools.

I have long grown weary of the idiocy promoted by right-wingers that creationism — the biblical tale that Earth came to be in six calendar days while God took the seventh day to rest from all his hard work — is as valid a theory as evolution. It isn’t!

The biblical version of Earth’s creation has no relationship with established empirical evidence that it took our planet millions of years to evolve into what it is today. And that human beings also evolved over millions of years into what we have become today.

For the SBOE to believe Texas public educators should teach them both in our classrooms is idiotic beyond all measure.

Define ‘CRT,’ please

I need someone to offer a definition of “critical race theory.” From all I have been able to discern, I have determined it is made up, fiction, something created from nothing.

And yet … culture warriors on the right wing of the political divide keep tossing CRT out there as some sort of “enemy” of what they perceive to be “normal.”

What the hell is it?

I get that it’s become a target of the likes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is banning it in public schools there. Same for Texas, where another Republican governor — Greg Abbott — with possible White House ambitions is furthering the debate against CRT. He’s got a mostly Republican elected State Board of Education on his side to aid in the fight against an unseen and unknown adversary.

CRT is seen by some as a method to denigrate the nation’s history. What? They don’t like discussing such issues as, oh, slavery, which — yep! — existed in this country until we went to war with ourselves in 1861. Remember what you learned? White slaveowners held Blacks in bondage, owned human beings like property; Blacks were considered to be three-fifths human.

Our children aren’t supposed to learn about that? Teachers are instructed to avoid talking about it? Ridiculous! It’s part of our nation’s mostly glorious history.

Still, I am waiting for someone to define CRT to me in a manner that I can grasp.

I’m all ears.


Pols step up correctly!

My previous blog spoke well of the Texas State Board of Education’s decision to keep teaching elementary public school students about “slavery” and to forgo the use of a term called “involuntary relocation” in our curriculum.

I want to highlight one aspect of that decision. It came unanimously. Yes, 15 members of the SBOE voted as one. Why is that a big deal? Because the SBOE comprises politicians who are elected to the office. They run as Republicans and Democrats. They have constituencies to which they must appeal. They represent vastly different districts drawn across our vast state.

They come from different ideological backgrounds, bias and political leanings.

Yet on this matter, they spoke with one voice.

Make no mistake, the SBOE made the correct statement. The term “slavery” should remain in our public school curriculum to remind our children of the darkest chapter in our nation’s history.

That the SBOE locked arms on this matter is cause for high praise.


SBOE pushes back on language change

Well, I’ll be deep fried and rolled in oats. The Texas State Board of Education, a committee of 15 politicians elected to a panel that determines public school curriculum, has shown some needed guts.

The SBOE appears to have squashed an idea to change the way schools teach second graders about slavery. A group of educators had pitched an idea to call the enslavement of human beings as “involuntary relocation.”

The SBOE said “no” to that idea. Texas’s public schools will continue to teach our children about “slavery,” and will keep the language as it has been presented.

Yahoo News reported: While involuntary relocation isn’t an entirely unknown term in social studies, it often “has relationships to refugees and forced displacement due to violence or ethnic cleansing,” said Neil Shanks, clinical assistant professor of middle and secondary education at Baylor University.

In this case, Shanks added, the term appeared to be “intended to water down the issue of slavery.”

Texas board of education strikes down proposal to call slavery ‘involuntary relocation’ (yahoo.com)

Let’s understand that slavery is the darkest chapter in our nation’s otherwise glorious story. We shouldn’t dilute its impact by introducing the kind of terminology that means next to nothing. “Involuntary relocation?” What the hell is that?

The State Board of Education, to its great credit, voted unanimously to stay the course on teaching our children about the evils of slavery.


No way to soften ‘slavery’

This cannot possibly be real, cannot be serious, cannot be accurate. Some Texas educators now want to introduce a new form of study … changing the term “slavery” to something called “involuntary relocation.”

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! This can’t be happening. Oh, but it is happening.

The Texas Tribune reports:

How do I say this? The enslavement of human beings during the formation and early development of the United States is part of who we are as a nation, who we became and who we sought to correct.

To suggest that our children no longer should be taught what slavery meant to millions of our ancestors is to deny the facts as they occurred.

Texas education proposes referring to slavery as “involuntary relocation” | The Texas Tribune

“I don’t like it because it’s a personal belief. I don’t like it because it’s not rooted in truth,” said Aicha Davis, an SBOE member who represents Dallas and Fort Worth. “We can have all the discussions we want, but we have to adopt the truth for our students.”

We all have been told at times that “the truth hurts.”

Fine. Let it hurt. Slavery is the most egregious blot on our nation’s history. Our children should learn about it in its rawest form.


SBOE inches toward a coming to its senses

It’s difficult for me to refer to the Texas State Board of Education as a 15-member gang of nincompoops. The SBOE, though, is showing troubling signs of seriously dunce-like behavior.

It had decided to remove two pioneer women from public school curricula: Helen Keller, a disability rights advocate and (get a load of this!) Hillary Rodham Clinton, the nation’s first female ever nominated for president by a major political party.

Then the board thought better of it. It restored Keller to the state’s third-grade history curriculum.

Clinton’s restoration isn’t yet final; the SBOE will decide the issue on Friday. I do hope the SBOE makes the right call.

For the ever-lovin’ life of me I don’t understand what the SBOE — an elected board of partisan politicians who set academic curriculum standards for the state’s public schools — is thinking.

It’s the decision to remove Clinton from study in our public classrooms that baffles me in the extreme. She is a contemporary figure who’s still active in the nation’s political discourse.

It looks as though the SBOE is going to restore the former first lady, former U.S. senator, former secretary of state and former 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee to our public school textbooks.

As the Texas Tribune reports: In response to a motion by board member Erika Beltran, D-Fort Worth, to reinsert Clinton into the standards, fellow board member Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo, referenced “tons of public comment” that he’d received before Tuesday’s meeting. “I don’t agree, obviously, with her politics,” Rowley said. “I just think she qualifies as significant.”

Do ya think?

Someone’s politics shouldn’t matter one damn bit when determining one’s significance to state or national history. I’m sure Rowley knows that. And, yeah, she “qualifies as significant.”

Indeed, Clinton and Keller both are hugely significant historical figures. So help me, I don’t understand why the SBOE considered dropping them in the first place.

It now appears the SBOE has come to its senses. I also want to offer a good word to Marty Rowley for responding to the “tons of public comment” that stood up for Hillary Clinton’s role as a historic American public figure.

Hey, didn’t Hillary make ‘history’ in 2016?

I swear I thought Hillary Rodham Clinton made “history” in 2016 when she became the first female to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party.

She ran a tough race against Donald J. Trump, but lost the Electoral College vote to the 45th president of the United States.

But wait! The Texas State Board of Education — a body of 15 elected politicians who represent separate districts around the state — wants to remove any historical reference to Clinton from public school textbooks.

It also wants to remove any mention of Helen Keller, the social activist who became the first blind and deaf woman to earn a college degree.

I’m scratching my head over this stuff.

Is this the wave of the future in Texas? Are we doing to deny teaching our students about historical figures because they, um, might be unpopular or controversial?

Hillary Clinton also served for eight years as first lady of the United States. The was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York in 2000 and re-elected in 2006. She then served as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

First lady, senator, secretary of state? Then she became a Democratic Party presidential nominee?

That’s unworthy of study in public school curricula?

The SBOE decision is a tentative one. It can reverse itself in November when it casts a final vote.

I hope it does and returns these women of enormous accomplishment to the curricula to be studied by our public school students.

SBOE switches gears: They were ‘heroes’ at the Alamo after all

The Texas State Board of Education came to its senses, with a little push from Gov. Greg Abbott.

The SBOE had voted tentatively to remove the term “hero” from its description of the men who died at the Alamo in 1836. Hey, we all know that they died heroically while defending the mission against superior Mexican armed forces.

SBOE reverses course

The board of education, though, almost knuckled under to some form of “political correctness” by deciding they weren’t heroes after all. Abbott said the SBOE should resist such PC activity. Late this week, the 15-member elected board reversed itself and said the heroes at the Alamo will be labeled as such in Texas public school curricula.

I’m not a native Texan, but I certainly accepted the idea long ago that the men who died in the Alamo battle were heroes. That’s how we were taught in Oregon when I was growing up and studying these historic events.

I’m glad that the SBOE has declared what the rest of us knew already: Those men were heroes.

Yes, they were ‘heroes’ at The Alamo

What’s going on with the Texas State Board of Education?

The 15-member elected board had decided that the men who fought and died at The Alamo shouldn’t be called “heroic” in Texas textbooks that tells the story of the 1836 struggle.

Then the SBOE backed off. The men who died were heroes after all. Politicians from Gov. Greg Abbott on down had objected to the eliminating of the “heroic” description of the fight.

The Texas Tribune reported: The board has been streamlining curriculum standards for social studies for the past several months, with the aim of cutting back on the instructional time for teachers and allowing them to go into depth in their courses. The workgroup’s recommendations, submitted to the State Board of Education in April by a volunteer working group of area experts, called the term “value charged” and recommended its removal. They also struck out a reference to a letter Col. William B. Travis wrote just before the siege titled “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World.”

I’m not a Texas native. My wife, sons and I got here as soon as we could. I grew up in Oregon and studied The Alamo battle back in the day, in junior high school and later in high school. By the time we moved to Texas in 1984 I was well aware of the “heroic” stature that the men had achieved when they fought against a huge military force of Mexican soldiers who laid siege to the mission.

C’mon, SBOE! Don’t mess with what we know to be true. Those men fought heroically. They died as heroes. Didn’t the Texians who took the fight to Mexico’s armed forces rally to the battle cry “Remember the Alamo”?

SBOE backs off

Part of the change seems to have something to do with the short shrift textbooks give to civil rights leaders. As the Tribune reports: Those in support of the workgroup’s initial proposal argued that using language like “heroic” for the defenders of the Alamo and minimizing the contribution of civil rights leaders whitewashes the history of Texas. “The curriculum standards that guide what we learn in our public school classrooms don’t teach enough and don’t teach the truth,” said Lamontria Edwards, a student at Paul Quinn College in Dallas.

Fair point. However, let’s be sure our texts also teach children of the heroism of our civil rights movement in addition to teaching them of the heroes who died at The Alamo.

SBOE runoff turns out OK after all


Just about the time I was ready to give up all hope of political sanity within the Texas Republican Party …

Those voters over yonder in the Piney Woods do something sensible. Who’d a thunk it?

Tuesday night, they rejected the candidacy of one Mary Lou Bruner to District 9 on the State Board of Education. Yep, the GOP runoff produced another winner, Keven Ellis of Lufkin, a member of the Lufkin school board.

Bruner had been favored to win. She finished first in the Republican primary in March and was considered a strong candidate in the runoff. Then came the torrent of criticism regarding many of the former kindergarten teacher’s social media posts.

The one that got the most attention has been her contention that President Obama subsidized his drug habit as a young college student by prostituting himself. My favorite, though, was the notion she posted about dinosaurs becoming extinct because the baby T-Rexes couldn’t survive after Noah’s Ark made landfall on Mount Ararat.

District 9 Republicans then began to give serious thought to the choices they had. Did they really want someone with that kind of outlook representing them on the board that determines public education policy in Texas?

I’m still not crazy about the notion of electing these board members. I still prefer that they be appointed, subjected to Texas Senate confirmation, and that they have a deep background in education.

A Republican runoff in one East Texas SBOE district shouldn’t be seen necessarily as a harbinger of a return to sanity in the state’s political process. The state GOP, which dominates the Texas political landscape to the point that it has all but eradicated Democrats’ viability, still is capable of enacting some highly restrictive public policies.

Still, Keven Ellis’s runoff victory in East Texas gives me some hope that reason and sanity still have a voice within the state Republican Party.