Tribpedia: Social Studies Standards Debate

Summit Highlights Momentum on Mexican American Studies

Spurred in part by frustration at a proposed Mexican American Studies textbook that has been called racist and inaccurate, over 200 educators, scholars and activists gathered at San Antonio College on Saturday for the largest ever statewide meeting on Mexican American Studies in public schools.

State Board of Education member Bob Craig,  R-Lubbock,  at the board's hearing Sept. 24, 2010.
State Board of Education member Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, at the board's hearing Sept. 24, 2010.

TribBlog: Islamapalooza

After a spring filled with bitter culture wars over textbooks, the Texas State Board of Education reopened the fight today with — what else? — a fight over alleged "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian" bias in Texas textbooks. 

Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.
Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.

TribBlog: American Grandstand

Members of the State Board of Education’s hard-right wing appear poised to inject themselves into the national fray over Islamic influence in America with a resolution warning textbook publishers that a “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks.”

Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy
Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy

TribBlog: SBOE's Last Laugh

You know that prayer that before today's State Board of Education meeting, which some found so inappropriate? It was read by arch-conservative Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond — but not written by her. In a gag on her detractors, she lifted the text from U.S. Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Earl Warren.

Former State Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar at a meeting in March 2010.
Former State Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar at a meeting in March 2010.

TribBlog: Praying for Church and State [Updated]

In a morning prayer to open the State Board of Education meeting, social conservative member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, mixed worship with a constitutional argument against the separation of church and state — previewing the politically charged debate to come later today, as conservatives tackle their last big agenda item before approving the state social studies standards.

An observer holds a protest sign during testimony at the State Board of Education (SBOE) textbook hearings on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
An observer holds a protest sign during testimony at the State Board of Education (SBOE) textbook hearings on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Hussein in the Membrane

A member of the State Board of Education's internationally notorious conservative wing trotted out Barack Obama's middle name late in a marathon meeting Thursday, a fitting end to a debate over social studies curriculum standards that was marked by irritable outbursts and inane dialogue. Members fought over slavery, Jefferson Davis, Joseph McCarthy — even over when they could finally adjourn. 

The SBOE Gets an Earful

Members of the State Board of Education, meeting in Austin this week, are scheduled to take a final vote on new social studies curriculum standards that will remain in place for a decade. Outside the meeting room at the William B. Travis Building, there is no shortage of opinions about the board's work. Nathan Bernier of KUT News reports.

Separation Anxiety

At a public hearing today, the State Board of Education's social conservative bloc is expected to launch attacks on the church-state “wall” as part of hundreds of changes to the social studies curriculum standards, which could provide the outline for tests and textbooks years into the future. The board expects to take a final vote on the entire curriculum on Friday.

A Day at SBOE in 127 Seconds

In which we go to the standing-room only State Board of Education meeting and the many rallies for and against proposed history curriculum standards. The board (and the numerous stakeholders in this debate) argued all week long.

TribBlog: History Paige

Former U.S. Secretary of Education and Houston Superintendent Rod Paige this morning asked the State Board of Education to delay adopting its standards, saying they had “swung too far” to the ideological right and diminished the importance of civil rights and slavery. Asked if the board should delay a final vote expected Friday, he said, "Absolutely."

Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy
Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy

Lame Ducks Unlimited

Four members of the State Board of Education who are exiting their seats in January are preparing to cast decisive votes this week on controversial curriculum revisions that will alter social studies textbooks for 4.7 million public school children in Texas. But, just maybe, not so fast: Two Republicans who'll likely win election to the SBOE this fall, and a Democrat who is vying for another soon-to-be-vacated seat, said in interviews that they'd support reopening the standards process if consensus emerged on the newly constituted board. 

Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.
Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.

TribBlog: The Church Board of Education

When they meet in Austin next week, social conservatives on the State Board of Education — some now lame ducks — may be going even further with amendments challenging the separation of church and state, entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, landmark desegregation cases and the work of muckraking journalists such as Susan B. Anthony and W.E.B. Du Bois. Another amendment amplifies a long-running effort to resuscitate the reputation of communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Minority Retort

The State Board of Education is set to take a final vote on controversial social studies standards next month — but not if members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Legislative Black Caucus can help it.
About 130 people signed up to address the State Board of Education about its social studies standards in a marathon meeting in January.
About 130 people signed up to address the State Board of Education about its social studies standards in a marathon meeting in January.

TribBlog: A Hearing on History Hearings

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Senate Hispanic Caucus and the House Black Caucus are throwing a "special hearing" to stoke backlash to the State Board of Education's recasting of American history. 

The Textbook Myth

Despite all the handwringing about Texas' influence on the textbook market nationally, it's just not so, publishing insiders say. The state's clout has been on the wane and will diminish more as technological advances and political shifts transform the industry.

Gail Lowe
Gail Lowe

TribBlog: SBOE vs. the Media

The State Board of Education accuses unnamed "media" of "erroneously" reporting its removal of Thomas Jefferson from state world history standards. Trouble is, the board statement is guilty of the same alleged lack of context, and it follows a pattern.