AS we reported here, there are bills pending in the Texas legislature that would remove from the Texas Board of Education (BOE) of much of its power over curriculum design and textbook selection. We are not alone in noticing this.
In the Wall Street Journal we read: Texas Bills Take Aim at Education Board . Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Texas state legislators are considering reining in the Board of Education amid frustration with the board’s politically charged debate over how to teach evolution.
The board last month approved a science curriculum that opens the door for teachers and textbooks to introduce creationist objections to evolution’s explanation of the origin and progression of life forms. Other parts of the curriculum were carefully worded to raise doubts about global warming and the big-bang theory of how the universe began.
Not everyone in Texas is a creationist, but somehow it seems to depend on political party affiliation. Let’s read on:
Some lawmakers — mostly Democrats — say they have had enough.
The most far-reaching proposals would strip the Texas board of its authority to set curricula and approve textbooks. Depending on the bill, that power would be transferred to the state education agency, a legislative board or the commissioner of education. Other bills would transform the board to an appointed rather than elected body, require Webcasting of meetings, and take away the board’s control of a vast pot of school funding. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, hasn’t taken a position on specific bills, a spokeswoman said.
We reported on the first of those bills, but not the others. And the Journal didn’t mention the BOE sunset bill we discussed. Let’s continue:
Board members, who aren’t paid, object to most legislative meddling.
“As crazy as the Texas Board of Education is, there are just as many crazies, percentage-wise, in the state Legislature,” said board member Pat Hardy. Another member, Cynthia Dunbar, said the board’s fierce debates should be seen as a sign that all views are well represented.
Pat Hardy is a pro-science member of the BOE. Cynthia Dunbar is … well, check out what we wrote about her earlier: Texas Creationism: Meet Cynthia Dunbar. Here’s more from the Journal:
While the Legislature debates the board’s future, candidates on the left and right are gearing up for 2010, when eight seats will be on the ballot. Results of that election could affect how the new science standards are interpreted — and which biology texts the board approves in 2011. Texas is one of about 20 states that require local districts to buy only textbooks approved by the state board.
That’s worth noting. There’s more good information in the article. Click over to the Wall Street Journal and read it all.
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