Is There No End to the Costly Political Game the SBOE Keeps Playing?
By Frank Knaack ACLU of Texas Legal Advocacy Coordinator Today, the Texas State Board of Education boldly and clearly announced: we are not capable of placing the educational needs of Texas’ children above our need to further our personal political agendas. Well, close enough. The Board on Friday approved a resolution that singles out Islam for denigration. Add this to the list of the Board’s past abuses, as we documented in our report (PDF), and it is clear … the Board’s power over the curriculum content for Texas public schools must be removed. You can help by writing your legislators and demanding that scholars, not politicians, determine our children’s public school curriculum. The ostensible purpose of the resolution adopted today was to ensure that Texas’ public school world history textbooks portray all religions in a fair and balanced manner. To achieve this, the majority of the Board felt it necessary to demonize Islam. This logic, as is often the case with the Board’s actions, defies reason. As if to further clarify the true political nature of this resolution, the Board voted down two sensible amendments. First, the Board voted down an amendment that would have simply stated that the Board will reject any textbooks that ill-treat the world's major religious groups by “demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others … .” Second, the Board voted down an amendment that would have delayed the vote on this resolution until the Texas Education Agency could verify the claims of pro-Islam/anti-Christian bias past Texas textbooks. (If the majority truly believed there was an anti-Christian bias in Texas textbooks then what did they have to fear?) As the failure of these sensible amendments makes clear, today’s vote was not about ensuring the fair and balanced treatment of world religions, but instead about scoring political points. The Board's flagrant disregard for the educational well-being of Texas’ children is nothing less than shameful, and cannot stand. Help ensure that such actions do not happen again. Contact your legislator today!