SBOE’s Right Wing Pulls A Fast One

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Education, Election 2008, HD-52, Had Enough Yet?, Uncategorized at 9:20 am by wcnews

A right wing majority on the State Board of Education (SBOE) pulled a fast one last week, what’s being called a “cut-and-paste job”, in passing new curriculum standards for the teaching of English language arts and reading. From the HChron, Divided board passes English curriculum plan.

A three-year effort to rewrite English language arts and reading standards for the state’s public schools came down to a last minute cut-and-paste job Friday.

But the final document didn’t change any minds as the State Board of Education voted, 9-6, to approve a plan that teacher groups again rejected. And educators who criticized the curriculum found fresh ammunition in the last-minute process the board employed Divided board passes English curriculum plan.

Socially conservative board members produced a new document Friday that they said included some of the best elements of a separate plan advocated by English language arts and reading teachers.

No matter which side someone is on in this fight it obvious this is not the way to go about it. Of course the governor of our state should be ashamed, but isn’t, that his appointee as chair has acted in this undemocratic manner. Obviously if this is such a great solution it would have been able to stand up to scrutiny from the rest of the board and the public. But not when dealing with the right wing.

But some members were offended that they didn’t see the final version until Friday’s meeting.

“I don’t trust the people who have worked behind the scenes in secret,” said Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi.

Patricia Hardy, R-Fort Worth, wondered what made some board members so qualified “to pull something out of the hat at the last minute. It’s amazing.”

“The process stinks. … No leadership from anywhere,” Hardy said later. “The sane six have spoken. We stand by what the teachers developed, and we wanted the teachers to be heard.”


Two different outside groups offered opposite reactions. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a free-market think tank, favored the board’s action.


But the Texas Freedom Network, which promotes public education, religious freedom and individual liberties, called the board divisive and dysfunctional.

Only those on the far right fringe think it was a good idea to ram through this plan in an undemocratic fashion. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Texas AFT has more.

By the time the muddled proceedings came to a close, it was anything but clear what exactly the Board had passed. (Texas AFT will provide a full analysis once we have a chance to see and evaluate the final document.) However, one thing about the process is very clear already. The Board majority ended this process of standards development where it began, with ideological preconceptions substituted for impartial analysis of what’s best for Texas students. The majority heavily discounted the advice it received from a broad cross-section of the best English/reading teachers in Texas, using “back to basics” rhetoric to dismiss concerns about simplistic approaches to the teaching of this core subject. The Board majority’s disrespect for the professional judgment of teachers was palpable. (Just in case you’re wondering, Board members of both political parties joined in the six-member bloc that opposed the Board’s action today.)

The outcome of this standard-setting exercise bodes ill for the next round, when the Board will decide on curriculum standards for science courses. The process for English and reading was bad enough. Just think what it will be like when the Board’s headstrong and heedless majority has to consider the teaching of evolution from a scientific rather than religious perspective.

Ultimately the SBOE derives its authority over these matters from the state legislature. If the Board’s current pattern of behavior continues, the 2009 legislature should reconsider the wisdom of entrusting such important educational policy choices to the SBOE.

Of course the right wing fringe’s main goal has always been the science curriculum and evolution. They know change is coming to Texas and see this as their last chance to do this. And they will try to make these changes by any means necessary. Those who live in HD-52 have a golden opportunity to effect that change in the legislature by electing Diana Maldonado this year. Electing Maldonado and several more Democrats to the Texas House is how we begin to end the undemocratic right wing take over of our government.

1 Comment »

  1. FedUp said,

    May 27, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I have an idea. Before passing any of this, have them take a test on such curriculum. If they can’t pass it, which I’m sure they will not, then they can not expect our children to. I mean, isn’t this all about TASK prep?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.