Catch Liberty Institute at the Texas Tribune Festival on Sunday debating the SBOE

September 23, 2011

Liberty Institute’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Jonathan Saenz will speak this weekend at the Texas Tribune Festival.  The Festival is a weekend of debate, discussion and dialogue regarding politics and public policy. It takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25 at the University of Texas at Austin. Find out more or register here.

Jonathan Saenz frequently presents testimony in defense of conservative values before the Texas Legislature and the State Board of Education.  He will be taking part in the panel discussing:  “What Now for the State Board of Education?” The discussion promises to be lively because the panel also includes Kathy Miller of the liberal Texas Freedom Network, a group that targets people and elected officials for their religious beliefs (and usually loses policy votes too).  Former Chairman of the SBOE, Don McLeroy, and current SBOE member, Thomas Ratliff, will also be on the panel.

The panel discussion is Sunday, September 25 at 10:15 AM at the Student Activities Center Auditorium, 2201 Speedway, in Austin.

For a preview of the panel discussion, check out Jonathan sweeping the floor with Kathy Miller when debating the history standards on CNN last year.

 


Texas Social Studies Standards Released! What’s in Texas Social Studies Standards? Read the Texas Social Studies Standards Here

June 28, 2010

THE ACTUAL TEXT OF THE TEXAS SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!!   They were released Friday, June 25th.  Every one has been wanting to see the actual words/language themselves, so here it is!

Here are the direct links to the text of the standards as posted online by TEA:

Kindergarten through Grade 5

Grade 6 through Grade 8

High School

Liberty Institute, which worked heavily on this issue and was represented at each SBOE meeting on the topic, issued the following statement:

“Anyone who actually reads the standards will see accurate, common sense content that Texas has adopted,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute.  “Our students now have new tools to lead Texas and our state in the 21st century.”

“People want our students to learn about the founding principles that make this country great,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute.  “Students under these standards will actually be reading and discussing our founding documents and will be way ahead of other students across the country.”

The SBOE adopted numerous recommendations by professors, teachers, and experts (religious freedom language is one example).  However, the SBOE rejected other recommendations made by some professors and/or teachers, such as completely removing Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, George Patton, the Liberty Bell, Mother Teresa, and Jonas Salk.  The SBOE also rejected efforts by some teachers and/or professors to reduce the teaching on Independence Day and Veterans Day.

The final standards also include religious freedom language that allows students to study the actual words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and compare and contrast those words with the phrase “separation of church and state.”  This language was adopted by an 11-3 bipartisan vote.  This language is even supported by a moderate Republican, Bob Craig (who sponsored and proposed this final langauge), and supported by Democrat, Lawrence Allen, and all other Republicans-Don McLeroy, Terri Leo, David Bradley, Cynthia Dunbar, Tincy Miller, Pat Hardy, Gail Lowe, Barbara Cargill, and Ken Mercer.  Mavis Knight had historically inaccurate language on this issue, which was rejected. 

Notable Content of Texas Social Standards:

  • Tejano leaders: Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro, and specific Tejanos who died at the Alamo-Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier
  • Contributions of Founding Fathers: John Hancock, John Jay, John Witherspoon, others.
  • Thomas Jefferson: five specific references, Declaration of Independence referenced throughout.
  • Concepts: American Exceptionalism, Celebrate Freedom Week
  • Capitalism: referenced numerous times.
  • Religious Heritage: impact of religion and Judeo-Christian legal tradition on America.
  • Religious Diversity: Student will learn about Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
  • · Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases: Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Roe v. Wade, Tinker v. Des Moines, Miranda v. Arizona.
  • · Notable/Cultural Leaders Covered: Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, Dolores Huerta, Lorenzo de Zavala, James A. Baker III, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sam Walton, Ronald Reagan, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Harriet Tubman, Todd Beamer, Roy Benavidez, John Olivas, Henry B. Gonzalez, Hector P. Garcia, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr., George Washington Carver, others
  • Groups: LULAC, NAACP, NRA, Moral Majority, Heritage Foundation.

www.juststatethefacts.com

Some are making outrageous statements about the new Texas Social Studies standards. It’s obvious, they either have not read the new standards, or they are intentionally misleading the public.

They claim Thomas Jefferson is not in the standards.

The fact is that Thomas Jefferson is in the Texas Social Studies standards numerous times, including:

  • In Grade 5: “Founding Father and Patriot her(o)…Thomas Jefferson..”.
  • In Grade 8: for “significant individuals that played a role in the American Revolution…..Thomas Jefferson…”
  • In U.S. Government (twice) “the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including…Thomas Jefferson…”.
  • In World History: Students must “explain the political philosophies of individuals such as…Thomas Jefferson…
  • Moreover, the Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson authored, is referenced at least 25 times throughout the K-12 Social Studies standards.

They claim religious freedom is watered down in the standards.

The fact is religious freedom is taught using language from the First Amendment of the Constitution, the direct source of Religious Freedom language

In U.S. Government: “Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed it free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.”

This standard was proposed by moderate Republican Bob Craig.  This social studies standard was approved by a bipartisan, 11-3 vote.

Religion has very diverse coverage: in Texas social studies, students will learn about Confuscianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism and Christianity.

They claim The State Board of Education members have no teaching experience.

The fact is numerous members of the State Board of Education have teaching experience. Click here for official bios of the SBOE members. www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=3803

They claim that teachers and professors were kept out of the process.

The fact is the State Board of Education had five public hearings and heard hours of testimony from numerous professors and teachers and many of their suggestions are reflected in the standards. Furthermore, many of the changes suggested by a select group of appointed teachers to a review panel were adopted.

They claim that that the term slavery was taken out of the standards.

The fact is slavery is in the standards.

For the correct context of this misleading information, one section of the standards, before it was changed on Thursday, said this:

“explain reasons for the development of the plantation system, the Atlantic triangular growth of the slave trade, and the spread of slavery; and…”  There were no official objections to this language, by Republicans or Democrats, in January when the initial change was made.

Then, last week, the State Board of Education voted 15-0 to change the phrase “Atlantic Triangular Trade” to “Transatlantic Slave Trade”.

Slavery is covered numerous other times throughout the K-12 course.

They claim there are no references to capitalism.

The fact is capitalism is in every grade of social studies standards starting at grade 2.

“Students identify the role of the U.S. free enterprise system within the parameters of this course and understand that this system may also be referenced as capitalism or the free market system.”

They claim that minorities and women have been diminished or “whitewashed”.

The fact is the following minorities, women, cases and groups are covered by the social studies standards:

Cesar Chavez (2 references), Dolores Huerta, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King (5 references), Jr, Sonia Sotomayor, Barack H. Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Wallace Jefferson, Rosa Parks (2 references), Susan B. Anthony, Lorenzo de Zavala, Booker T. Washington, Henry B. Gonzalez (2 references), Hector P. Garcia (3 refences), Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr.(2 references), Jose Antonio Navarro, Francisco Ruiz, Hillary Clinton, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Ochoa, Harriet Tubman, Roy Benavides, John”Danny” Olivas, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, Carlos Espalier, George Washington Carver, Crispus Attucks, Wentworth Cheswell, Placido Benavides, William Carney, Philip Bazaar, Enrique Esparza, Bessie Coleman, Lydia Mendoza, Phillis Wheatley, Lulu Belle Madison White, Amado Pena Jr., Scott Joplin, Marcus Garvey, Kadir Nelson, Juan Seguin, Carmen Lomas Garza, Juan Antonio Badillo, Jane Addams, Abigail Adams, many others.

Landmark cases covered:

Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Edgewood I.S.D. v. Kirby, Mendez v. Westminster, Roe v. Wade

Tejano leaders:

Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro are covered, including the significant contributions of Tejanos such as Juan N. Seguín, Plácido Benavides, and Jose Francisco Ruiz during the time period of the Texas Revolution, The Republic of Texas, and the annexation of Texas to the United States. Standards also include the following Tejanos who died at the Alamo, Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier.

Groups: LULAC, NAACP.

They claim the standards include “positive references” to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America.

The fact is, Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America are simply listed as examples for this high school section:

“describe the causes, key organizations, and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including….”

This section does not make a “positive” or a negative reference to these organizations, it simply lists them as being a part of “conservative resurgence”.


SBOE Announcement!! Gov. Perry Appoints Conservative to SBOE Chair

July 10, 2009

Update: Opposition is in full panic mode:  I don’t like to say “I told you so”, but the usual small group of Austin critics are already unleashing their fury on Gail Lowe, loosely throwing around words like “personal beliefs” and “creationist” (unsubtle code words for their targeted attack on Lowe for her religious beliefs) in their unhinged verbal attack of Lowe.  Even though at least one political news source considers Lowe a “moderate” of conservatives, it doesn’t matter to the Austin extreme left. Our point exactly — it doesn’t matter if its McLeroy, Dunbar, or Lowe, or any other SBOE conservative member, these political and religious attacks will continue, pretending to be something else.

The reason for the appointment is because 11 (all Democrats) of the 31 Texas Senators blocked the confirmation of Don McLeroy, citing to the New York Times for reasons to oppose McLeroy.  So Gov. Perry was forced to appoint another sitting SBOE member, to be chairman.  19 (all Republican) of the 31 (a majority) Texas Senators voted for McLeroy.

Gov. Perry Appoints Gail Lowe to State Board Chair

Free Market Foundation Applauds Conservative Appointment

AUSTIN, Texas – Today, Gov. Perry selected Gail Lowe to be the next chair of the State Board of Education (SBOE).  Gail Lowe, of Lampasas, Texas, is one of the more conservative SBOE members, and was first elected to the SBOE in 2002.  She previously served on the Lampasas Independent School District Board of Trustees and has volunteered countless hours in the classroom.  Following the Governor’s announcement, Free Market Foundation released the following statement:

“We applaud Gov. Perry for making an excellent choice for our new State Board of Education chair,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of Free Market Foundation.  “Gail Lowe is a strong conservative, representing Texas values, and has long been a leader in the field of education, in her local community, and in various roles as a State Board of Education member.” 

“Our state and our schoolchildren will benefit greatly from Mrs. Lowe’s service, care, and commitment as the new State Board of Education Chair,” said Jonathan Saenz, legislative director at Free Market Foundation.  “We hope that the usual critics will rise above their religious discrimination of the past and allow Mrs. Lowe to focus on the important education issues of our state,” said Jonathan Saenz, legislative director at Free Market Foundation.  

Free Market Foundation has worked on numerous issues before the State Board of Education, including recent testimony and key analysis on the science curriculum standards and Bible curriculum standards for Texas public schools.

For more information or for interviews, please call or email Jennifer Grisham, director of media, at (972) 423-8889 extension 102, media@freemarket.org, or (512) 879-7995.

_____________________________________________________________

You recall, that Don McLeroy’s confirmation as SBOE chairman was rejected earlier this year by 11 (all Democrats) of 31 Texas Senators.  Even though 19 of 31 Texas Senators voted “FOR” McLeroy, he needed a 2/3rds majority to be confirmed.  So 11 Texas Senators were able to block the will of the majority. 

The New York Times was cited as a source for basis of criticism on McLeroy, which lead some Senators to vote against him.  Some Texas Senators care more about what the N.Y. Times thinks, and less about Texans.


Action Alert!! We Need Calls/Emails: Religion, Babies, & Taxes!!

May 21, 2009

1.  Don McLeroy, State Board of Education member, needs your help to be CONFIRMED as chairman of the SBOE, which requires a 2/3rds of the 31 Texas State Senators to vote in favor of him.  His nomination as chairman was approved yesterday bythe Senate Nominations committee. Don McLeroy has been unfairly attacked by some because of his PERSONAL religious beliefs as a Christian.  He’s even been attacked for religious statements he’s made while at church!  CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR today and tell he or she to REJECT a Religious Test and please Support Don McLeroy!

Click here to find your State Senator http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

The Ultrasound Bill, the Texas House State Affairs Committee passed SB 182 passed it, the Ultrasound bill, yesterday!  The bill will now go to the Calendars Committee and then to full House for a vote.  Please call the Calendars Committee.  

TAXES: We still need action to oppose SB 855, as it will be voted on by the full House tomorrow!  This is the transportation tax bill that will have the effect of raising gas taxes by 125%.  Call (512) 463-4630 now and ask for your House member and tell him or her you oppose SB 855.

SB 1569 is also before the House for a vote today, regarding acceptance of federal stimulus money, if Texas expands unemployment insurance to part-time employees.


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