Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance-Thank The Texas State Board of Education!!

January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. holds a prominent place in the Texas History and Social Studies curriculum standards.  That’s correct, MLK is one of the most discussed and studied persons in our Texas curriculum standards passed in 2010, under the leadership of conservative Republicans.  I have long been an admirer of Dr. King, so I am proud that our state is showing such support for an incredible man.

In 2010( and part of 2009) the Texas State Board of Education had numerous public hearings, votes, discussions, meetings, etc. to decide on a final product for statewide History and Social Studies teaching for K-12 public school children in Texas.  Conservatives led the way and eventually 2/3rds of the elected SBOE members, all Republicans, voted in favor of a final product that is expected to stay in place for around ten years.

You heard a lot of celebrating from our side in 2010, because of the teaching on American Exceptionalism, the focus on teaching the U.S. Constitution and religious liberty, the Founding Fathers, and also praise for a large increase in diversity of persons included, across the board (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.)

But you also heard incorrect and exaggerated complaints from the left, the media, Bill White and numerous others who didn’t have their facts straight on this issue.  That’s why we set up the website, www.juststatethefacts.com

So we encourage you to be proud that our Texas Social Studies standards highlight one of the most important figures in American history and that Texas students have the “I Have A Dream” speech and “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” as part of our curriculum standards for public school children.

And be proud that it was a conservative group of Texas State Board of Education members that made it happen.


Veterans Day Teaching in Texas Public Schools Protected by Texas State Board Of Education, Religious Liberty Prevails over Federal Gov’t in Houston

November 11, 2011

Veterans & Their Families Protected in Texas by Liberty Institute:  At Liberty Institute we were honored to win a huge religious liberty case in Houston at the VA Cemetery where “God” was being banned at military funerals, in additiona to other hostile attempts censor religious expression.  Details here http://www.libertyinstitute.org/

Teaching on Veterans Day Prevails in  Texas Public Schools!  During the Texas Social Studies & History standards battle in 2010, a misguided group of teachers recommended that Veterans Day be removed from some sections of K-12 social studies.  But they wanted to add more mentions of Mary Kay Ash and some liberal members wanted more mentions of avowed Socialist, Dolores Huerta.  This outrageous effort by some groups of teachers to remove Veterans Day from parts of our social studies standards ultimately failed, because our ELECTED State Board of Education members said NO to these changes.  Our conservative leadership by the State Board of Education members, led the way on this. Find out more at www.juststatethefacts.com

Friends, THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VETERANS TODAY!!

For our continuing work, at Liberty Institute, to protect Veterans Memorials, like the Mojave Desert Memorial & Cross and the Mt. Soledad Memorial and see www.donttearmedown.com

Also, see our State Board of Education video where we helped keep Veterans Day from being taken out of some sections of the K-12 social studies standards and some pictures from the Veterans’ Day Parade in Austin.

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Texas History Standards: Just State the Facts!

April 18, 2011

There have been a few hearings on bills that target the current role and authority of the State Board of Education.  During these hearings, we hear more discussion showing that it’s helpful for everyone debating this issue to know the facts in their entirety.

So we’ve set up a website for this:  www.juststatethefacts.com


“Moderate” Republican Supports Texas Social Studies/History Standards, Gail Lowe For SBOE Chair

March 30, 2011

In a special article today in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, State Board of Education Member, Pat Hardy writes in support of the texas social studies standards approved in May 2010 and in support of conservative Republican Gail Lowe being confirmed by the Texas Senate this session, i.e. before the end of May.

See the article here. http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/03/29/2959035/texas-senators-need-to-approve.html

I put the word moderate in quotes because the media often likes to describe Pat Hardy as a moderate even though I think you’ll find that Pat sees herself as a conservative and Pat is a strong supporter of the Texas Social Studies standards.  She also has over 40 years of experience in education, particularly in the subject of social studies.

Pat says this in her article: “Some activist groups, including one from Washington, D.C., don’t like our social studies standards. However, Lowe should be judged on her respect and fairness during meetings, not whether or not her votes match up with D.C.-based power players.

As an educator with 40 years’ experience as a social studies teacher and coordinator, I fully support the social studies standards adopted in May 2010 by the State Board of Education by a 9-5 vote.

To repeat a curriculum adoption process that lasted nearly 18 months would be a misuse of precious tax dollars and would thwart the will of the voters. Little, if any, changes in the actual content would result.

Perry appointed Lowe for a second term. There is no good reason why she should not be confirmed.”


Public Education Chair, Rep. Eissler, on Social Studies Standards, Gail Lowe, and Fordham Institute report

March 22, 2011

Yesterday, Jonathan Saenz with Liberty Institute spoke with Representative Rob Eissler, Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, on Texas’ Social Standards, Gail Lowe, and the Fordham Institute Report.

“I continue to support the social studies curriculum standards and the work of the State Board of Education and its chair, Gail Lowe.  Any questions I had about the process existed before I visited with Mrs. Lowe.  Now I have a greater understanding of the State Board of Education’s process.  My questions have been answered, and my concerns have been put to rest.” – Statement from Rep. Eissler

See here for official document.

To get the truth on Texas’ Social Studies standards, visit http://www.juststatethefacts.com/

See Liberty Institute’s response to the Fordham Institute’s report here.


Texas House Public Education Chair: I support the Texas Social Studies/History Standards & I Support Gail Lowe

March 17, 2011

Texas House Public Education Chair: I support the Texas Social Studies Standards and I support Gail Lowe. 

Rep. Rob Eissler expressed this to me this morning and wants to make it clear his support for both the new social studies standards and the current chairman of the State Board Of Education, Gail Lowe.  An article that ran yesterday gave the opposite impression and conclusion.


Fordham Institute Writers Get Defensive About Texas Social Studies Report

February 27, 2011

History News Network is now being used to push back against us on our calling out of Fordham Institute’s flawed criticism of Texas Social Studies standards.  https://texaslegislativeupdate.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/fordhaminstvstexas.pdf

Writers on this site say we twisted their words, etc.    The truth is, they just can’t handle that it was their own exact words that we used to undermine their study (see their recent response here and our response below http://www.hnn.us/articles/136874.html ).

Yet, they still engage in the same advocacy rhetoric, sounding nothing like an objective “think tank”.  Here are their actual words this time:  And, like all conspiracy theorists, they twist our factual findings beyond recognition, putting ridiculous words into our mouths and denouncing all contrary arguments as malicious “lies.”

Special attention to the exaggerated phrases used by Fordham Institute: “ they twist our factual findings beyond recognition”.  Our response: Fordham Institute’s factual findings were easy to recognize and we easily pointed them out as false, with their distortion and misstatements about slavery issue as one simple example.

Next: “putting ridiculous words into our mouths”.  Our response: we used their exact words, a method that Fordham Institute was unwilling to do themselves, as they used exaggerated and inaccurate versions of our Texas Social Studies standards, instead of just presenting people with the actual text of such standards.

Last, we never used the word “malicious” when responding to Fordham Institute’s flawed advocacy piece.

Once again, on the issue of Texas Social Studies, just state the facts, or run the risk of being embarrassed when a Texas group sets the record straight.


GOP “Moderate” Pushes Back Against Flawed Fordham Institute Report; Supports Texas Teachers Attacked By D.C. Group

February 21, 2011

SBOE member Pat Hardy has over 30 years of teaching Social Studies in Texas.  When it comes to this topic, it’s not hard to argue that she is an “expert”.  I put “moderate” in quotes because the media likes to place labels on all the Republican SBOE members only, including Pat Hardy, and the media frequently likes to refer to her as a moderate Republican.

But Pat (details here about her background  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=3420) has been one of the most outspoken supporters of our current Social Studies standards and I think it is safe to say she will help block any ridiculous effort to start the Social Studies standards adoption process all over again.

She also pushed back recently against the biased and false report by the Fordham Institute, that she felt unfairly attacks teachers.

“State Board of Education member Patricia Hardy, a Republican from the Fort Worth area, said the institute’s concerns about the curriculum structure don’t give teachers enough credit. Content criticisms, she said, are the result of differing philosophies between some board members — who believe social studies should link history to economics, geography and culture — and Fordham’s criteria.”

See more flawed and misleading reporting here at http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/state-curriculum-for-u-s-history-flunks-evaluation-1257184.html

Once again, still no “mainstream” reporter willing to actually look at the specific language of the Texas standards and compare that to what Fordham Iinstitute actually says are in the standards.  That’s the real story.   We have and others have caught on to this quickly.  The fact that the media is relying on Thomas Ratliff, the lobbyist and newly elected SBOE member, as an authority on social studies is telling.

See our side by side analysis of Fordham Institute report vs. actual Texas social studies standards. https://texaslegislativeupdate.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/fordhaminstvstexas.pdf

Also, ask yourself if you would expect these words and phrases to be used when you read a report by a “think tank” like Fordham Institute:  “invented”, “inculcate”, “tenditious”, “misrepresentation at every turn”, “all but ignored”, “largely missing”,  and my favorite – “uncritically celebrate”.  Uncritically celebrate?

See more of the Texas Social Studies myths debunked here,  www.juststatethefacts.com


Liberty Institute Gives Biased Fordham Institute Texas Social Studies Report an “F”

February 16, 2011

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Liberty Institute Gives Fordham Institute’s Social Studies Report an F:
Fordham Institute Fails in Its Inaccurate Attempt to Discredit Texas Educational Standards

AUSTIN, Texas, February 16, 2011 – Today, Liberty Institute announced that the Fordham Institute’s report attempting to discredit Texas’ social studies standards receives an F due to its use of inaccurate and made-up facts as proof. This report was released more than eight months after the Texas State Board of Education took its final vote on this issue in May of 2010, after nearly 18 months of extensive public hearings and deliberations.

“This attack comes from a group funded in part by the liberal Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but I must admit I am still embarrassed for them in their inaccuracies, even with their clear bias,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO for Liberty Institute. “Texans are not impressed by some education elitist ‘think tank’, with left-wing funding and an agenda, launching bombs from Washington, D.C., aimed at Texas. This attack was baseless, inaccurate, biased, and ineffectual.”

Examples of false statements in the report include the idea that instruction on “Slavery is… largely missing,” when in actuality, slavery and slave are listed numerous times in the standards, and related terms “Emancipation Proclamation” and “abolitionist movement” are required teaching in every grade starting with 3rd grade. Countless important figures related to this are also required for study. The report even criticizes Texas for discussing the religious history of our early American colonies.

Also contributing to the report’s failing grade is the Fordham Institute’s attempt to pass off the report as educationally unbiased and the media’s misrepresentation of the Fordham Institute as a conservative organization. The Fordham Institute receives funding from the Gates Foundation, well-known as a liberal group which is advocating heavily for national education standards, which is an Obama administration priority that is widely rejected in Texas by both Gov. Perry and the thousands of Texan parents, educators, and concerned citizens who spoke out in favor of the newly-adopted social studies standards.

“The most obvious problem with this report is that it is full of dramatic overstatements, trivial details, and flat-out lies about the content of Texas’ social studies standards,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute. “This is just another Washington voice, Johnny-come-lately trying to punish Texas for rejecting Obama’s attempted takeover of state curriculum standards. Texas will not be bullied by a biased report that gets our history standards wrong. A piece of friendly advice to Washington elites and other late-comers on this issue: read the standards!”

Liberty Institute participated in every Texas State Board of Education hearing on this issue. Full information about what is in the standards is online at www.JustStateTheFacts.com, and a list of examples from the Fordham Institute’s study are debunked in a document linked here.

Click here to see an important video about Texas Social Studies and the important of an elected State Board of Education in Texas.


Texas Social Studies Are Strong: Just State The Facts!

January 17, 2011

In May of 2010, the Texas State Board of Education  (SBOE) adopted a final version of curriculum standards for Social Studies.  Yes, that was eight months ago.  Still, a few groups and individuals are still using incorrect information to criticize the nine (9) Republican members of the SBOE that voted in favor of the standards. 

You can find the actual details and content of the Texas Social Studies standards at www.juststatethefacts.com

One of those Republicans that voted for the final Social Studies standards is Bob Craig, considered a moderate by the media, liberal groups, and probably himself.  Some even say Republican Pat Hardy is not a part of the “conservative bloc.”  Ms. Hardy also voted for the final version of the Social Studies standards.  Conservatives picked up a likely member in Republican Charlie Garza, and Marsha Farney likes to be known as an independent conservative.

Result, Democrats lost a seat, down from 5 to 4.  Republicans picked up a seat, up from 10 to 11, and added another conservative seat,while losing one conseravtive seat. (McLeroy loss to Thomas Ratliff).


Veterans Day: Thank Our Veterans & Troops & Thank Conservative Texas State Board of Education For Keeping It Important in Social Studies

November 11, 2010

During the Texas Social Studies battle, a misguided group of teachers recommended that Veterans Day be removed from some sections of k-12 social studies.  But they wanted to add more mentions of Mary Kay Ash and some liberal members wanted more mentions of avowed Socialist, Dolores Huerta.  This outrageous effort by some groups of teachers to remove Veterans Day from parts of our social studies standards ultimately failed, because our ELECTED State Board of Education members said NO to these changes.  Our conservative leadership by the State Board of Education members, led the way on this. Find out more at www.juststatethefacts.com

Friends, THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VETERANS TODAY!!

Huge 2010 Veterans Day Parade in Austin, Texas

For our continuing work, at Liberty Institute, to protect Veterans Memorials, like the Mojave Desert Memorial & Cross, see www.donttearmedown.com

Also, see our State Board of Education video where we helped keep Veterans Day from being taken out of some sections of the K-12 social studies standards. Speaker Joe Straus is considering taking away your right to vote for State Board of Education members.


Texas Teacher Unions Endorse Political Candidates, But Claim Politics Shouldn’t Mix With Education

September 8, 2010

Sounds like a double standard to me.  Texas State Teachers Association and American Federation of Teachers have endorsed Democrat State Representative, Solomon Ortiz, Jr.  These are the same political group and teacher unions that slashed the Texas State Board of Education conservative members with criticism during the battle over social studies.  TSTA and AFT claimed they were against politics in education.  So why are these education groups/teacher unions endorsing candidates for political office?  

I think it is clear, some teacher union groups are all for politics in education when it serves their purpose.  Do they also give money to political candidates?

TSTA has also endorsed Bill White for Governor.  White spent so much time trying to falsely convince people that Thomas Jefferson was removed from the social studies standards( he wasn’t-Jefferson is one of most covered persons in the standards), either on purpose or because his political team of advisors didn’t understand the process, that i think some people are wondering whether or not he is running for Governor or State Board of Education!  http://www.tsta.org/Pressroom/current/TSTA_Endorses_Bill_White_for_Governor1%203.pdf

Click here for Solomon Ortiz, Jr. endorsement by the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) and AFTSolomonOrtizTeacherEndorsement

For TSTA, it seems some of their main complaints about the social studies standards is that it only included Socialist, Dolores Huerta, once.  They also were outraged that painter, Santa Barraza, was not insterted into social studies standards.  Barazza’s painting work includes a nude painting, which was deemed inappropriate for 7th Grade, according to a 10-4 vote.

Listen up teachers!  This is what your TSTA dues are getting you!  Protection and advocacy for Dolores Huerta, a Socialist, and Santa Barraza.  Money well spent?


Texas Senator Slams Democrat Doggett for Playing Politics with Education

July 23, 2010

See the article here.  More analysis to follow on Monday. http://www.texasinsider.org/?p=30573


Texas Rewrites History? Just State The Facts!

July 22, 2010

We were at every Texas State Board of Education hearing on the Texas Social Studies issue.  So we set up a website so you can see the real truth about Texas social studies and ignore the lies being told by the liberal left.

http://www.juststatethefacts.com/


“Texas Lawyer” Magazine: Kelly Shackelford, of Liberty Institute, named one of Top 25 Greatest Texas Attorneys for Past 25 Years

July 19, 2010

Our President and Chief Counsel of Liberty Institute, Kelly Shackelford has been named to a list of Top 25 Greatest Texas Attorneys for Past 25 Years.  He’s argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous other courts  He’s won three religious freedoms cases in the past 4 years, at the Texas Supreme Court.  And he’s also taught law at the University of Texas School of Law.

Kelly Shackelford also testified on the Texas Social Studies issues, particularly on the curriculum standards about religious freedom, supporting the words of the Constitution and the correct teaching about the phrase “separation of church and state.” By an overwhelming vote of 11-3, the Texas State Board of Education approved religious freedom language supported by Mr. Shackelford’s testimony.

http://www.libertyinstitute.org/news_and_updates.php?category=8&article=81


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