Thursday, May 20, 2010

Judy Jennings: Saving America from Texas SBOE Ideologues

Tomorrow, Friday May 21st will be infamously remembered as the day that the Texas State Board of Education ignored the pleadings of prominent educators, including George W. Bush’s own former Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, and finalize their highly politically inspired changes to the Texas social studies curriculum.

A curriculum which promises to de-emphasize slavery and the decades-long African-American struggle for equality. Said Paige, as quoted in USA Today:

“(The proposed Texas standards) drastically understate the influence of slavery and the Civil Rights movement in our national story – it almost suggests that students will be learning that our liberties – and especially African-Americans' freedoms – were kind of gently acquired. The liberty and freedoms that African-Americans enjoy were born out of struggle – deep struggle. Nobody just woke up in the morning and said, 'O.K., you're free”

A curriculum which promises to propose that the founding fathers did not necessarily believe in the principle of the separation of church and state, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.

With 7 evangelicals on the board, and 10 Republicans, look for passing of this curriculum with all of the objectionable edits to the curriculum intact.

Bringing up today’s statement by Judy Jennings who is running in my SBOE district, District 10, to take Cynthia Dunbar’s place. I have posted her statement as found on YouTube below. Basically the theme is that Jennings promises to revisit the social studies curriculum as passed by this lame duck school board (McLeroy was voted out, and Dunbar is not running for re-election) when she takes office in January.

That is, although passed by ideologues on the school board, it isn’t a done deal.

This is eminently doable. Mainly because one of the things that the legislature is looking at in order to deal with the anticipated $11 billion shortfall in the next budget cycle is to delay textbook acquisition.

Use the old textbooks for another year (or two).

Right now the legislature is looking at making up for not buying textbooks that are aligned with the new curriculum by making software acquisitions and using supplemental materials in order to have textbooks that follow the new curriculum.

If the new curriculum is rescinded, that makes even the expenditure of those funds for updated materials a moot question.

In short, what Judy Jennings proposes not only makes sense and keeps Texas out of the national focus for politicizing its educational standards, it is also fiscally sound.

The Recession of 2007-2009 did its damage and state funds are tight. It just makes sense to delay curriculum adoption until Texas can afford to back it up with material support.

Besides, that way the Board can continue to diddle with Texas’ Permanent School Fund (also known as the textbook fund) expected to grow by another $1 billion during the next two years, without drawing down the principal.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Thank you for supporting Judy. Readers can find out more about Judy at Please contribute $10 or whatever you can afford to elect her to the State Board of Education - she will make education, not partisan politics, the priority