One thing yesterday’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) hearing on the Texas State Borad of Education (SBOE) highlighted was, why the SBOE has been able to get away with mangling science and now social studies/history curriculum for Texas public schools. For the most part they’ve been able to operate below the radar and not held accountable for their actions. That changed yesterday when state Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (D-San Antonio) held a hearing.
The first thing that came to light, even before the hearing started, was that the head of the SBOE didn’t want to show up, SBOE Chairwoman Gail Lowe Ducks Texas Lawmakers. Would Lowe have been subject to tough questioning? If having to come before legislators to defend the board’s recent actions is tough questioning, then the answer is yes. But to the average Texans it doesn’t seem like too much to ask for a governor’s appointee to show up, when asked, by elected leaders.
More than likely she was afraid she would let some truth slip out like Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott did, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott Describes SBOE Curriculum Changes As “Payback”.
Rick Perry appointee and Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott described the process involving the curriculum changes under consideration by the SBOE as “payback” while testifying at a hearing at the Texas State Capitol.
The first person to testify during the hearing was Robert Scott, Texas Education Commissioner. During his testimony, questions were raised about the curriculum process and why certain decisions were made. Scott responded to the questions by justifying the SBOE’s controversial changes as “payback.“
I transcribed the key part from his testimony — video archive will be available after the hearing:
“One of the things, I think, that has been a problem in all of our deliberations regarding – whether it’s education or anything else – is that when you push out a particular group, and say we don’t care about you, when you push out, regardless of who that is, over time that creates a problem. And when the pendulum swings back, you know, there’s – whether you call it payback or a shifting in the alignment – I think that we need to be mindful as we deliberate to try to prevent the pushing out of any group, regardless of who they are. And that’s what I think this process needs to be about.”
Scott’s remarks are disgusting. Unequivocally disgusting.
Rick Perry’s appointee, Robert Scott, has admitted the true purpose of the outrageous changes conservatives on the SBOE are considering: this is about political payback and placating the extreme wing of Republican Party of Texas. Scott is essentially saying that political payback is a justifiable reason for allowing a political agenda to determine what is being taught in our children’s classrooms.
People across the country should be outraged at these ridiculous remarks. We need to elect new SBOE members who will put our kids above any political agenda. To help that right now, please donate to the following SBOE candidates who are working hard to put our kids first.
Essentially what Scott was telling the legislators was, “payback’s a bitch, aint’ it?!” Certainly Gov. Perry will have something to say about this misuse of the SBOE that his commissioner appointee has brought to light. It’s doubtful anyone is happier in Texas about the recent disastrous immigration law in Arizona than the “wing nuts” on the Texas SBOE, it takes them out of the crazy spotlight for now. TFN has more on Scott’s comments, Is This about ‘Payback’ or Education?
Musings has more on his comments too, Education Commissioner Robert Scott Makes Case for Texas Democrats.
Now, what he was talking about was the poor, oppressed religious right who got themselves elected to the State Board of Education for one reason only – to inject religion into the new science and social studies standards. They “snuck” onto the Board in plain sight when Texas Democrats were asleep on the job and didn’t run anyone against them. Scott makes an amusing comment about the way things used to be before religious zealots controlled education in Texas:
Scott clarified his remark, explaining an historical context.
In the 1990s, for example, the four board conservatives lost, 10-4, in the adoption of new social studies curriculum standards.
“There was no outrage. No hearings. No New York Times editorial,” Scott said of political swings.
Well, no, there was no outrage because common sense, accuracy, scholarship and the good of Texas school children were the standards back in the day.
I interpret Scott’s remarks as:
1. Support of MALC’s position that we “need to be mindful as we deliberate to try to prevent the pushing out of” Mexican Americans in the social studies standards.
2. The plain truth. Elections matter, and when we elect Democrats the pendulum will swing back, there will be a “shifting in the alignment” and we’ll get the SBOE back on track to putting quality education for Texas school children first.
Another issue that came up was the SBOE’s possible plagiarism from Wikipedia in their work on the social studies curriculum, SBOE candidate Soto claims plagiarism in social studies TEKS.
Just a few moments ago, at the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus hearings on the Texas State Board of Education, Dr. Michael Soto managed to shock a group of people who thought they’d heard it all when it comes to the SBOE’s ridiculous overreach into Texas public education. Soto, a Trinity University professor and the Democratic candidate for SBOE district 3 (that’s most of us in SA, and much of the Valley to the South), claims one of the TEKS social studies standards the SBOE is considering is plagiarized from a UCLA Graduate School of Education web site and wikipedia.com.
Any port in a storm it would seem. Part of the reason the SBOE has become so politicized is because of the change in voting patterns in Texas over the last two decades. In these races where the most extreme members have been elected, it’s been the candidate with the (R) beside their name in the general election that wins. Essentially whichever candidate can win over the right wing GOP base in a primary or runoff wins. And that hasn’t been good for public education in Texas. (Just look at the record of public education in Texas over that time period). It’s time we start electing people to the SBOE that think public education is vital, and want to make it better. Not the candidate with a political agenda.
Democratic candidate for Governor Bill White has the right idea, State Board should delay vote. Unfortunately that’s unlikely to happen with Perry appointees running the show. The best way here in Williamson County and SBOE 10, to insure that quality public education, and not a political agenda, is front and center for the SBOE is to elect Judy Jennings in November. And for our state it’s a change in leadership at the top.