Attacks on Texas State Board of Education Crushed by Texas Senate

April 14, 2011

Democrat Senator Rodney Ellis surprised his fellow Senators when he offered a floor amendment yesterday to “sunset” the State Board of Education, trying to attach this amendment to a bill that had nothing to do with the State Board of Education.  Thankfully, leaders in the Senate, particularly Republican Senators Florence Shapiro and Jane Nelson, vigorously fought off the sneak attack, and the Senate emphatically rejected this effort and voted it down.  Please call Sen. Nelson and Sen. Shapiro and thank them and remind your Senator that you support the SBOE and you want Gail Lowe to be confirmed as SBOE Chairman, by the Senate!

This week, we also fought against an effort to give unelected education elites influence for our K-12 curriculum standards, like social studies, a role currently left to our elected SBOE.  HB 862, by Rep. Diane Patrick also seeks to “sunset” the SBOE but it has found no support thus far in the House and we are strongly opposed to its passage.

Finally, the Sonogram bill (HB 15) has now passed the Senate committee and is scheduled for a full Senate vote next week!

Hearing Today on SBOE Bill, Texas State Board Of Education In Question

March 29, 2011

HB 862, by Republican Rep. Diane Patrick, will be heard today by House Public Education.  We’ll be testifying against this bill.  This is the bill that was voted down by the House last session, HB 710.

Planned Parenthood front group, Texas Freedom is a liberal advocacy group that frequently attacks the Republican, conservative State Board of Education (SBOE) members because of their religious beliefs and personal choices.

Texas Freedom Network supports HB 862 and has now indicated their support on their website.

Democrat Bill Resurrected to “Question the Need for” Texas State Board of Education; Hearing on Tuesday: Take Action

March 25, 2011

Last session, former Democrat Texas House member Patrick Rose pushed a bill attacking the State Board of Education (SBOE), HB 710 (81st session).  That bill lost and so did Patrick Rose in the November 2010 election.

Patrick Rose is gone, but his bill to place the State Board of Education under “Sunset Review”, has been resurrected by another Patrick, Rep. Diane Patrick, who is a Republican.  Her bill is HB 862, and the relevant language is virtually identical to HB 710 from 2009.

This bill requires the State Board of Education to be subject to “Sunset Review”, which is a form of periodic review where a group of 10 elected officials and 2 unelected officials review state agencies and have the ability to abolish such agencies.

The sunset review committee describes part of the reason for such review to “question the need for each agency”.  The SBOE is not an agency, though, and any questions that exist should be answered by the voters at the ballot box, not by 2 unelected persons on a commission who are not accountable to the voters.

Voters can decide on their own if they think elected officials are doing a good job – that’s the input you have as a voter.  HB 862  strips the public of their role as a “check” on elected officials and their control over fair representation in jeopardy as well.

Democrats pushed this bill last session because they didn’t like the SBOE’s votes on curriculum issues.   Just two years later, it’s hard to think of some other reason that this same bill is being brought forward, even if it is by a Republican.  I am told this bill is about efficiency and transparency. Any arguments and need for efficiency can be handled by analyzing TEA.  As for transparency, if you’ve been to an SBOE meeting you know that everything is out in the open and the public has more access to the members in process than you’ll ever see at the Capitol. 

SBOE members have no state staff of their own, no state office, no state phone and no salary.  They could harldy be more efficient and and transparent.

I’m sure the Austin liberals are so excited that Patrick Rose’s defeat has had no impact on their ability to attack the SBOE, so far.

Just another example of how this legislation does not honor the will of the voters.

If HB 862 passes, the SBOE would be the only elected body to be subjected to Sunset Review.

Diane Patrick’s office information (if you live in her district):

Public Education Committee Information (if you live in the district of any of these members):

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