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I'm running for the Texas State Board of Education in District 5 against Ken Mercer, a right-wing extremist. My goal is to restore common sense to the board in Texas. Everyone should care about this because it's a problem that could spread to a town near you, if it hasn't already.  Effacement of history continues apace in the United States, and it is our collective responsibility to prevent this from happening.  As a professor of English and film at Texas State University, I see firsthand the effects of a broken system, and my message is that help is on the way.

Texas State Board of Education: 2010 or 1950?
Rebecca Bell-Metereau, Candidate for Texas State Board of Education, District 5

Extremist members of the elected, non-paid Texas State Board of Education have hijacked textbook selection and curriculum requirements for future generations of Texas school children, censoring the information they receive in both subtle and blatant ways.  In addition to violating the constitutional separation of church and state, extremists on the State Board have systematically censored other types of information as well, refusing to include significant minority figures.  Extremist board members complained that the review committee’s proposed curriculum included too many minorities and women.  

In spite of testimony from hundreds of citizens from all over the state requesting greater representation of Mexican Americans, Czechs, Sikhs, etc., in the curriculum, extremists systematically rejected their inclusion with flimsy justifications.  For example, the far right-wing members of the board thwarted efforts of the Mexican American community to include Dolores Huerta in the curriculum, arguing that she was a bad role model because she was a socialist.  Instead, extremist board members substituted Helen Keller, either unaware that she was also a socialist or convinced that an Anglo socialist was not as objectionable as a Chicana socialist.  

The board censored common words recommended by the review committees that they, themselves, had selected.  For example, the right-wing ideologues eliminated any references to the word "democracy," referring to the United States instead as a "representative republic" throughout the document.  I have no objection to "representative republic," but I have a big objection to systematic censorship of the word "democracy."  It seems so, well, undemocratic. In addition, the right-wing majority voted to delete distinctions between sex and gender, because they feared it might lead students to think about transvestites and transsexuals.  

This 2010 controversy over social studies comes on the heels of the board’s earlier consideration of the science curriculum.  In editing the requirements recommended by the review committee of teachers and scholars, extremists insisted on inserting language that depicted the theory of evolution as an inferior alternative to what they call the theory of "intelligent design."  Everyone likes intelligence, right?  And "design" sounds like a good idea as well.  Dr. David Hillis and other distinguished scientists testified before the board, arguing for real science, both for higher education and for science careers that fuel the economy, but to no avail.  

In considering the English curriculum, conservatives on the board threw out two years of review committee work on the night before the final vote, substituting a hastily crafted document designed to emphasize phonics, a method popular during the 1950s.  This new curriculum also reduced the number of women and minority authors. The extremists were able to pass these last-minute changes, a move that prompted protests from board and audience members.  District 5 incumbent Don Mercer later bragged in a San Antonio Express editorial that the teachers had received a "well deserved spanking."

This kind of disrespect for teachers and education must stop.  We must resist extreme partisan and ideological efforts to rewrite history, weaken the curriculum, and brainwash our children.  Such a huge number of sweeping changes and omissions can't be justified by saying this is simply a response to excessive liberal influence on the curriculum. There is nothing "conservative" about excluding Thomas Jefferson and democracy from a discussion of our history.  

Let's hear more from the voices of reason, from people all over Texas and the nation who respect education, research, teachers, and common sense.  I call on readers to pay attention to what is happening to education in Texas, because it may spread to the entire United States in the near future.  It’s not too late to turn this trend around, but we must act now to marginalize political and ideological extremists and return the Texas State Board of Education to its proper mission of educating students for the 21st century, not the 1950s.

Rebecca Bell-Metereau
Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

Originally posted to RebeccaBellMetereau on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (242+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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    Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

    by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:17:23 PM PDT

  •  1950s is far in the future for those folk. (21+ / 0-)

    Break a leg!!!

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:19:53 PM PDT

  •  Best of luck! (22+ / 0-)

    I'm fairly new to Texas and havent't figured out how things work here.  I've been upset over the BOE matter andd dismayed that there no chance for me to vote on a canditate (that I have seen). I'm in Houston. Can I help you?

  •  Thank you Rebecca! (21+ / 0-)

    You had my vote in the primary, and you'll have it again this fall.  Thanks for running, and I'm wishing you all the best of luck!

  •  If you have a website, post a link. (14+ / 0-)

    A few of us have been known to donate a few dollars to campaigns that are not in our district/state.  Good luck to you.

  •  If and when you get elected... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKDAWUSS

    can you do me a flavor? Can you make sure that the science books offer alternative arguments to any theories that remain unproven? e.g. Big Bang, Pangaea, Global Warming, Evolution. Granted, all of these have a strong consensus if not near bona fide proof, but until any theory is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, there should be at least a single sentence offering the possibility of an alternative reality.

    For Example:

    Theory: All life as we know it was created via the process of evolution.

    Alternative Theory:

    However, despite the strong empirical evidence and an overwhelming consensus among the scientific community in favor of evolution, at least one alternative theory remains widely believed: The theory of Creationism. (And a brief explanation, blah, blah, blah...)

    I'm an atheist but I still believe that we have an obligation to offer widely believed alternative viewpoints even if they offer no proof of their own. On the other hand, if only a very minute fraction of the population holds the minority belief then it might not be significant enough to be worthy of mention.

    Just a thought...

    "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

    by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:42:54 PM PDT

    •  Sorry but I have to disagree (17+ / 0-)

      It's one thing to say that there is no consensus on a Unified Theory that explains dark matter and dark energy etc. and there String Theory is one of the most common though not the only theory in contention but Evolution doesn't have a real competitor.

      "I agree with you now make me do it!" FDR

      by JC Dufresne on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:57:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes and no... (0+ / 0-)

        It doesn't have a "real" competitor, but it has a competitor that a significant minority of the population thinks is real.

        Is it then not significant that although the "imagined" alternative offers no empirical evidence to support it in any scientific kind of way, enough believers exist to have an impact in a political way.

        I'm not arguing that the believers are correct, I'm simply stating that they are significant, both in terms of percentage of population and in terms of political implications, and should therefore be mentioned.  

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:00:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The only mention that (7+ / 0-)

          creationism should have in the classroom is something along the lines of...

          "Anyone who think creationism is real is a fucking idiot.  Now lets move on to reality."

          As it is a public classroom, I might be willing to not say "fucking", the rest stands.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:06:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm cool with that, that's basically my argument. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            m00finsan, majii

            Although I worded it a bit more diplomatically.

            We both are willing to mention the alternative viewpoint, I was just looking for a more scientific way of presenting the common alternative from a historical point of view.

            Creationism was the "only" theory for the better part of history until evolution blew it out of the water with actual empirical evidence.

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:15:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ummm....you do realize that there are non- (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mollyk, MichaelNY, SocialRazor

              Judeo-Christian societies on this planet, right?

              •  And they ALL have Creation Myths...all different! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                revsue

                If it's
                Not your body
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                AND it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:52:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  All creationist myths have one thing in common. (0+ / 0-)

                  All creationist myths believe that life was created by supernatural being(s). That's why I never mentioned any specific religions.

                  The only time I mentioned any specific religion was when I mentioned Galileo and his struggle against the Catholic church with his theory of heliocentricity. In that case it was specifically Christians who persecuted him.

                  "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

                  by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 08:11:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I have included all belief systems. (0+ / 0-)

                I never referred to any specific religions. I believe it is necessary to discuss the fact that prior to Darwin, the creationist myth was the only explanation that people had for the existence of life. Since Darwin, there has been an ongoing struggle to educate people because the traditional beliefs have managed to hold strong in many communities. And yes, that includes many Christian communities, Jewish, Islamic, and etc...

                "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

                by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:56:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you in sentiment but (5+ / 0-)

          we're talking about a science class here. Among scientists there really isn't another theory for evolution. Just because there is significant doubt among non-scientists doesn't mean this doubt must be acknowledged in the science classroom. Let's remember, the "science" of Intelligent Design only exists to cast doubt on Evolution. It is not a science with any properties of its own.

          "I think the earth is a living being. I keep waiting for it to rear up and scrape us all off its back." - Tom Waits

          by frankzappatista on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:40:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is no "science" of inteligent design. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            m00finsan

            the "science" of Intelligent Design only exists to cast doubt on Evolution.

            I'm not advocating calling it "science". It is no more than a "widely held belief". It's relevance is in the historical context of the theory of evolution and the struggle that Darwin had against the prevailing superstitions of his time. We talk about Darwin in science, so why not talk about the strong opposition that he faced and give it a name:

            Darwin discovered the process of evolution that revolutionized the way we understand heredity. Despite this monumental breakthrough he faced stiff opposition due to religious superstitions.

            Does it really hurt that much to hear the truth?

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:12:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Since when (21+ / 0-)

      did biology class become Public Polling 101?

      Evolution is reality. The fact that a handful of varieties of alternative fantastical nonsense is "widely believed" has nothing to do with biology. Why in the world should we teach the latter in a biology class?

      Plenty of people believe that the Earth is flat, that the global climate is not changing, that Ronald Reagan never raised taxes, and that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. Would you have us teach those "widely believed alternative viewpoints" too?

      Isn't reality--especially in classes, such as biology, that are supposed to be about reality--more important to education than ignorant nonsense is?

      •  It also depends on what level of evolution you're (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majii, DickMacgurn

        talking about. Not everyone accepts evolution at the same level.

        Controversial subjects should be given all viewpoints for the sake of education. Fringe beliefs and discredited claims should be given a passing mention at most.

        •  "level of evolution" ???? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChemBob

          Please tell me you're not differentiating evolution from speciation.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:07:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Macro vs Microevolution (8+ / 0-)

            is what I think MKD refers to.  A good friend (masters degree in Engineering, no less) stunned me one day by declaring they didn't believe humans and apes were related ("macroevolution" - one species changing into another), but could accept "microevolution" (changes within a species).
            This is one way the more moderate religious right has found wiggle room between Genesis and science.  I concluded that the level of education in biological sciences, even for the highly educated, leaves many scientifically illiterate.

            "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

            by karmacat on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:25:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'll settle for a passing mention. (0+ / 0-)

          Fringe beliefs and discredited claims should be given a passing mention at most.

          "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

          by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:17:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Anyone who (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChemBob, gsenski

          "accepts evolution" at some particular "level" is ignorant about evolution.


          Controversial subjects should be given all viewpoints for the sake of education.

          Perhaps so. Maybe someone should provide an example of a controversial subject, though--because there is no controversy over evolution. Lies and ignorance from people who don't understand the first thing about evolution do not a "controversy" make.

          •  Not as controversial now as it was then. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RebeccaBellMetereau

            It was very controversial in Darwin's time. We've got to keep it in historical context. These days, deniers of evolution are the minority, but that doesn't stop them from effecting school policy in Texas where somehow the school board was hijacked by the religious right.

            It's very valid to point out that during Darwin's time the concept of evolution directly contradicted a long held belief system that continues to this day. Otherwise there would have been no controversy in his time at all. But there clearly was, and it effected him so deeply that he delayed in publishing his ideas for over a decade after writing his first book.

            Read, Darwin's biography. The controversy was a very real part of his life leading up to the publication of his first book and all the way up until his death.

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:29:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oy. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ChemBob, tommymet, gsenski

              It was very controversial in Darwin's time.

              No shit. This has what to do with biology?


              We've got to keep it in historical context.

              Not in biology class we don't.

              Wake up: "Teach the controversy" is a creationist strategy. You are not helping matters by fervently demanding that science classes be loaded with anti-science bullshit or history classes be full of fictional nonsense. Is it too much to ask that you not advocate teaching creationism?

      •  Amen!!! (7+ / 0-)

        Fringe beliefs & discarded alternative views deserve some mention if & only if you are teaching a class that goes into evolution in depth, including the history of changes in evolutionary thought, (the "evolution" of evolution???) Creationism & "Intelligent Design" do not deserve any time in a science class, because they have no basis in science. They start with a religious premise and cherry-pick evidence to support it.

        -5.12, -5.23

        We are men of action; lies do not become us.

        by ER Doc on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:50:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, and we should teach evolution in depth. (0+ / 0-)

          There is no "evidence to support" creationism. So they couldn't have "cherry-picked" anything. But, it is a historical fact that creationism was the only belief for thousands of years. It is also probably a "fact" that creationism is pure fantasy and fiction, but unfortunately a very large and significant minority of Americans still believe in the old theory. It deserves at least a passing mention despite the obvious absurdity of it.

          "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

          by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:29:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, "creationism" (4+ / 0-)

            was never a prevailing belief, because "creationism" is a thinly-veiled pseudo-scientific propaganda, created in the last few decades and designed to give a scientific veneer to one of hundreds of non-scientific creation stories that are believed in around the world. You probably mean that, in the Christian world, the Biblical story of the Creation was more or less universally believed in before science discovered another explanation. And that's important for students to be taught - in a history class.

            •  Not necessarily only Christians or Bible readers. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RebeccaBellMetereau

              The concept predates the Bible and Christianity.

              I would rephrase that slightly:

              ...the concept of supernatural creation (creationism) was universally believed before Darwin presented his theory of evolution. Although debunked by rigorous scientific research, the superstitions about the supernatural origins of life are still widely believed in modern society.  It's important for students to be taught that creationism is a superstition when discussing evolution.

              If you don't discuss the creationism myth when discussing Darwin, you're doing your students a disservice, and ignoring Darwin's very real struggle.

              I agree, that it should also be discussed in history class, but we should also be teaching theology as early as middle school as well. What better way to combat ignorance?

              "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

              by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:48:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Again, not "creationism" (0+ / 0-)

                "Creationism" is pseudo-science. It's not the same as a belief in a creation story.

                •  What would you call the theory of creation (0+ / 0-)

                  ... if not "creationism"?

                  Is there another word for that?

                  "Divine creation" is two words.

                  "Intelligent Design" is too modern.

                  The term creationism dates back to 1847. The word wasn't used to oppose Darwin's theories until 1880.

                  Is it not the best single word to describe the myth of supernatural creation?

                  "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

                  by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 08:44:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I agree completely. (0+ / 0-)

        We should not "teach" the alternative point of view. We should only mention it when it is relevant. "Ignorant nonsense", although not something we want our students to believe, is something that we want them to be aware of, especially when the "nonsense" was the only theory for most of history and remains a theory that holds the belief of a very significant portion of the population, even if the preponderance of the evidence seems to debunk it beyond any reasonable argument to the contrary.

        I am not arguing in favor or teaching creationism. I am arguing in favor of mentioning the "fact" that the creationism theory was the only theory leading up to the theory of evolution and amazingly remains a widely held belief.

        I believe in teaching facts, and historically, it is a "fact" that creationism was and still is believed to be true even though I personally believe in evolution.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:10:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm afraid (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChemBob, tommymet

          that the school day is going to have to be lengthened by several hours to accommodate all of the nonsense that, within your model, students need to learn.

          I'm talking about biology classes. Evolution belongs in biology class. Creationism does not. Anything else is a silly irrelevancy.

      •  We do teach those points of view and (0+ / 0-)

        for good reason.

        ...the Earth is flat

        Textbooks still teach that most people believed the Earth was flat. It's in every history textbook as it well should be. Not because it was ever true, but because it was part of the reason that it took so long for explorers to try and sail to the ends of the Earth. It wasn't until around the time of Columbus that a growing minority of explorers were willing to test their new hypothesis. Then it was only a matter of time before someone got the financial backing to check it out.

        ...Barack Obama is the Antichrist

        When the story of Obama becomes something we teach in the history books we no doubt will mention the opposition to his policies in order to put them into historical context. We might not go so far as to mention the extreme fringe belief that he is "The Antichrist" but we should definitely mention the widely held belief that he is a "socialist". Not to convince anyone that he is or was actually a socialist, but to teach our students the kind of ridiculous claims that his opposition used to vilify his agenda.

        We shouldn't teach our kids that Obama was a socialist, but we certainly should teach the "fact" that a ridiculous percentage of ignorant Americans believed it. This viewpoint, although moronic, will always remain relevant in the context of history. Otherwise how would you illustrate the battle that we had to endure leading up to the passage of HC reform?

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:55:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How symptomatic. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChemBob

          Textbooks still teach that most people believed the Earth was flat.

          Cite?


          It's in every history textbook....

          No, it isn't.


          ...as it well should be.

          No, it shouldn't.


          Not because it was ever true, but because it was part of the reason that it took so long for explorers to try and sail to the ends of the Earth. It wasn't until around the time of Columbus that a growing minority of explorers were willing to test their new hypothesis.

          You seriously believe that?

          "Explorers" have widely known that the world was round since thousands of years before Columbus.


          You're a case in point of why your approach doesn't work. You, personally, have lost track of what's reality and what's bullshit myth. Spending time, energy, and material resources filling kids' heads with nonsense is somewhat less important than studying reality--something you'd do well to practice.

          •  Straight from my 14 year old's history book: (0+ / 0-)

            The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, was published and mistaken by many for a scholarly work. In Book III, Chapter II of this biography, Irving gave a largely fictional account of the meetings of a commission established by the Spanish sovereigns to examine Columbus's proposals. One of his more fanciful embellishments was a highly unlikely tale that the more ignorant and bigoted members on the commission had raised scriptural objections to Columbus's assertions that the Earth was spherical.

            The flat Earth concept lives on in the history books because it demonstrates how ignorance often impedes scientific discovery and exploration.

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:19:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whaa? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tommymet

              You caught that Irving made the whole thing up, right?

              I.e., it's not actual history regarding Columbus?


              You think it's worthwhile to waste valuable educational time with this fictional nonsense? That's ridiculous. It leads to people--for example, you--saying silly things like "It wasn't until around the time of Columbus that a growing minority of explorers were willing to test their new hypothesis." When by "new" you meant "thousands of years old."

              You've openly confused reality with fiction, and you think this testifies in favor of teaching more such fiction in schools? Pull the other one.

    •  Uh, no (7+ / 0-)

      Please don't do that.

      Teach the controversy is just another way to teach creationism.

      Here's the facts.  

      1.  Creationism wrong.
      1.  Anybody who thinks its true is an idiot.
      1.  Teachers aren't paid to to teach things that are wrong, or turn their students into idiots.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:59:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, don't teach the controversy. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frankzappatista, karmacat

        Don't do that!

        Don't teach the alternative viewpoint.

        But do mention the "fact" that leading up to the monumental scientific breakthrough of evolution were thousands of years of the belief in supernatural power. And amazingly, although debunked by the discovery of heredity and then DNA proof, many religions cling to the belief in the supernatural origins of life.

        This is an indisputable fact:

        Creationism was the dominant theory for thousands of years leading up to the development of evolutionary science.

        Why would we omit such a relevant fact? Just because it has no place in science? Should we ignore it's relevant place in history? Should we ignore the "fact" that many still believe it?

        Wouldn't it better serve the goal of ending superstitious beliefs if we identify them for what they are?

        Creationism is a superstition. This is a nearly irrefutable fact. However, it is an irrefutable fact that many still believe in this superstition and work to rewrite our science and history books so as to willfully promote ignorance.

        It certainly deserves a mention, and rather than lead to more ignorance, it would put a name on the ignorance that at the moment has a prevailing vote in the Texas school board.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:42:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Right... (10+ / 0-)

      And be sure to include alchemy in there, because we all know that atomic theory is only a 'theory'.

      Oh, and germ theory is only a 'theory' as well, so we should probably make equal time for the 'alternative viewpoint' that sickness and disease is cause by demonic possessions.

      /snark

      Science is based on fact, not public opinion.  'Alternative viewpoints' deserve ZERO mention in a science class if they hold neither factual basis nor intellectual merit.

      As an atheist AND a scientist, we have an obligation to spread knowledge, not a gross lack thereof.

      •  And dont forget to teach that the sun goes around (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        powderblue

        the earth, because a lot of people believed that and some people were even executed for believing otherwise.  Or how about that each sperm contains a little human inside, the homunculus, because no one wanted to admit the female had an equally important biological role in creating a child.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:57:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We do teach that also. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frankzappatista

          The whole "heliocentric" controversy is very well taught both in high school and in college textbooks and for good reason. Galileo went through hell to bring us the truth. He was persecuted by the Christians until his dying days.

          Darwin faced similar opposition to his theory.

          Why would we not teach that? Are we that fearful of ignorance that we would ban the teaching of its existence? That is itself ignorance, is it not?

          I'm glad they still teach the "heliocentric" controversy. I'm glad they still teach that many believed the Earth was flat. And I think we can add "creationism" to the long list of debunked theories in the context of history. The history of the struggle against ignorance in all areas of scientific research.

          "The little human inside" might be a tad irrelevant since it never really gained any steam. "Creationism" has done well enough to cause this diary to be written. That's relevant.

          "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

          by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:12:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No problems with teaching these things in history (0+ / 0-)

            I do object when they infiltrate science and corrupt the scientific method.  Which should always ask questions, of course.

            Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

            by barbwires on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 04:06:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Alchemy is taught in the textbooks. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frankzappatista

        And be sure to include alchemy in there

        Yes, that's a great example. In fact, alchemy is mentioned in high school textbooks. The teachers don't try to convince our students that alchemy was legitimate, they just point out the "fact" that alchemy was a widely held belief leading up to the discovery of chemistry. It's important to teach our kids about the opposition that scientists endured while in the search for truth. Darwin's theories were vehemently opposed even by his own wife. To ignore that reality wouldn't do Darwin justice. He, like Galileo, had to fight to present his point of view and that is a very important aspect to teach our students.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:04:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Germ theory" is also taught in schools. (0+ / 0-)

        Not specifically. Not in the context of an actual theory. But the concept of "blood letting" and the ill informed ideas about how "germs" worked before the microscope are still discussed in the textbooks.

        the reason they're discussed is because its relevant. In the same way that creationism is relevant to Darwin's struggle. In the same way that the persecution that Galileo underwent during his lifetime after introducing his theory of "heliocentricity".  

        Science is based on fact, not public opinion.  

        I couldn't agree with you more, BUT, and this is my whole point: "Public opinion" is relevant in the context of teaching our students about what came before the scientific theories were introduced. If we exclude mentioning the elephant in the room, we do the science a disfavor. Kids are better educated when they are informed of the existence of a widely believed superstition and when it is labeled as such.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:05:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ok yeah (0+ / 0-)

          and the cell theory.
          cells are the basic unit of life
          Cells come from other preexisting cells.

          Shelterbox http://www.shelterboxusa.org/

          by TexMex on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:23:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

          Phlogiston theory is mentioned in science class as is the Catholic Church's opposition to Galileo - but in a historic context.  Creationism is really a political issue.  Darwin may have (I don't know) run into scientific opposition to his theory of evolution; that's history of science.  His theory ran into religious opposition with the Scopes Monkey trial and has religious/political opposition now - that has nothing to do with the progress of evolutionary biology - which now takes place within the field of genetics.

          Scientists think that the mouse genome will be even important than the human genome to medicine and human welfare. That seems bizarre: why is that? The reason is that, because of the relatively 'recent' divergence of the mouse and human lineages from our common ancestor (about 75 million years ago), an astonishing 99% of mouse genes turn out to have analogues in humans.

          Not only that, but great tracts of code are syntenic - that means the genes appear in the same order in the two genomes. http://www.evolutionpages.com/...

          Creation science or whatever its advocates call it is not science - it doesn't follow the method of using experiment to test theory.  When I isolated DNA in high school biology class there was no mention of creationism or god.  My lab partner and I were amazed that we did it.  Read the Voyage of the Beagle - Darwin could be a scientist and at the same time marvel at the wonders of creation. I'm sure he didn't confuse his science with his wonder.  I'd leave it up to teachers to decide whether to introduce the creationism issue, remembering that scientific rigor doesn't countenance non-scientific ideas.      

    •  You do not understand what a "theory" is in the (5+ / 0-)

      context of science.

      Science is an ongoing exploration of the real world--it's as if we are finding our way through a dark cave. Never, never,is anything "proven beyond the shadow of a doubt."

      Despite that, we still have solid knowledge. These other theories you talk about--relativity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, etc., are all still theories--they are works in progress, having solid basis in proven fact but not complete, still being built upon. But the knowledge we have amassed about them enables us to run the modern world. Those PARTS of these theories are proven to the extent that we can make practical use of them.

      It is the same with evolution.

      There is a very large body of knowledge in evolution that is already proven. The entire theory, however, is still being explored and will continue to be.

      You can't just come in with some other "theory," call it Intelligent Design and expect it to have the same scientific credibility as evolution. That "theory" has not yet earned the right through hypothesis and experiment to be considered on the same level with the theory of evolution.

      In fact, intelligent design is currently on the same level with the "flying spaghetti monster" conjecture of our origins. --Just something a bunch of yahoos threw up against the wall out of ideologiecal conviction without even a slight thread of evidence, proof or coherence. And you seriously expect it to be considered on the same level as evolution?

      •  That's why I used the term "viewpoint" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RebeccaBellMetereau

        rather than theory.

        Some view points that we still discuss in textbooks:

        The Earth is flat.

        That viewpoint is still discussed because of its relevance to the struggle to bring to light the "Spherical Earth" theory which was later "proven beyond a shadow of a doubt."

        I disagree with your assertion:

        Science is an ongoing exploration of the real world--it's as if we are finding our way through a dark cave. Never, never,is anything "proven beyond the shadow of a doubt."

        There is no longer any doubt that the Solar system is "heliocentric". Not even among the Catholics who opposed it due to its Biblical contradictions. Even they have come around on that one.

        They're still coming around to the theory of "evolution". But ignoring the fact that a large portion of the population is still opposed to good science does less to expel the willful ignorance of creationism than exposing it for what it is.

        We should mention the debunked "viewpoint" of creationism in the same context that the textbooks currently discuss the debunked viewpoints of heliocentrism and the flat Earth.  

        "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" isn't relevant in teaching evolution in schools because:

        1. It wasn't the widely held belief for thousands of years whereas creationism was.
        1. It was invented only as a way of mocking creationism, and not as a serious belief.
        1. The Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't currently a part of the textbook debate because it has no traditional roots or basis on any relevant literature.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:44:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yay! I was wondering when someone was going (0+ / 0-)

        to mention the FSM!

        A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

        by marleycat on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 06:04:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You betray a fundamental ignorance (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, Philoguy, Lady Libertine, marleycat

      of how the scientific method works in your statements here. Theories are never "proven beyond a shadow of a doubt", though they may be made stronger by observation or testing.  In that regard, big bang, plate tectonics, anthropogenic climate change and evolution are widely accepted because of the depth and quality of supporting evidence in their favor.  Creation, on the other hand, isn't even a theory because it's not falsifiable--at best, it's a hypothesis, and it certainly has no business being included in a science curriculum.

      What we really need is to do a better job of teaching the scientific method, as a foundation for broader scientific learning and critical thinking.

      •  Big bang has some serious doubts too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        I'm glad you mentioned "Big Bang" theory.

        As you probably know, Einstein himself never believed in that theory, which was invented by a priest in order to allow for Genesis and cosmology to coexist.

        There has always been a significant opposition to the Big Bang theory. And when new evidence came up which seemed to debunk it, even an ad hoc explanation hasn't filled in the gaps. Namely: the evidence that not only is the universe expanding, but it seems to be expanding at an ever increasing rate. Since this was discovered using the same "red shift" principles, no one has been able to explain how that doesn't contradict the Big Bang theory of a universe that expands at an ever slower rate.

        Creation, on the other hand, isn't even a theory because it's not falsifiable--at best, it's a hypothesis, and it certainly has no business being included in a science curriculum.

        I refer to creationism as a "viewpoint" rather than a theory, and I wouldn't elevate it to hypothesis either. It's a widely held "belief" or "viewpoint" just like "flat Earth" and "Earth centric universe" beliefs had no basis in scientific fact.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:52:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You've made a convincing argument. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, marleycat

          I refer to creationism as a "viewpoint" rather than a theory, and I wouldn't elevate it to hypothesis either. It's a widely held "belief" or "viewpoint" just like "flat Earth" and "Earth centric universe" beliefs had no basis in scientific fact.

          The difference is that textbooks readily debunk these theories (flat earth, earth centric) in their quest to enlighten the student to current scientific thinking.

          To introduce ONE religion's current philosophy into scientific learning is different ballgame.

          I'm a Kennedy Catholic.

          by EquiStar on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:46:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I couldn't agree more! n/t (0+ / 0-)

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:49:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In case I didn't make myself clear: (0+ / 0-)

            To introduce ONE religion's current philosophy into scientific learning is different ballgame.

            I wouldn't pick on any specific religion. And I wouldn't "introduce" anything. I would simply state the irrefutable fact that prior to Darwin, the creationist myth was the only "ball game". It's relevant, and should be discussed when "introducing" evolution to students because to ignore the mythology only permits ignorance. We need kids to know that these beliefs have been debunked in the same way we discuss the problem that Columbus had in convincing people that the Earth was spherical and the problem that Galileo had in convincing Christians that the planets revolved around the sun.

            Galileo specifically dealt with Catholic priests whereas the creationist myth is pervasive in all societies and religions. This information should remain in the textbooks that it is already in, and be added to those that ignore it.

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 08:05:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "The" creationist myth? (0+ / 0-)

              To say that "the" creationist myth was the only ballgame prior to Darwin is simplistic and inaccurate.  Simplistic because there have been many creation myths among the various religions of the world, not just one, and inaccurate because beyond those creation myths there were also naturalistic/rational attempts at explaining the origins of life and the universe.  Creation myths might be relevant in a philosophy class, or as part of an examination of the history behind the development of our modern understanding of the universe, but they're not science and shouldn't be treated as such.

        •  Where to begin? (0+ / 0-)

          First, it's not true that Einstein never supported the Big Bang theory. He did reject the theory when it was first proposed, but came to support it a few years later after Edwin Hubble's observations gave added credibility to the theory. Second, while it is true that Georges Lemaitre was a priest, he was also a physics professor who received a number of awards for his scientific work.  Even if he saw his theory as a validation of his religious beliefs, it doesn't change the fact that his work on the theory was subjected to rigorous peer review.  And the opposition to Big Bang theory isn't anywhere near as significant now as it was when the theory was first proposed--it's widely accepted by most credible scientists.  Yes, there are unsolved problems with the theory, much as there are with pretty much every scientific theory, but that doesn't change the fact that there's a substantial amount of support for it.  And there have been credible explanations offered for the accelerating expansion rate.

          You're right that it's far more accurate to call creationism a "viewpoint" than a theory or even a hypothesis. And that's precisely why it has absolutely no business being mentioned in the context of a science curriculum.  The fact that a lot of people believe it means nothing from a scientific standpoint, because it's still not science.  Mentioning it in a philosophy or comparative religion class might make sense, but certainly not in a science class.

          •  Are you saying that only the concensus view (0+ / 0-)

            is valid in regards to Big Bang theory?

            Einstein called Big Bang a "perversion of the cosmological constant" that he introduced. After seeing how it was used to invent the Big Bang concept he said the constant was, "the biggest mistake" of his life. He asserted that the Big Bang theory contradicts his "conservation of energy" theory. He believed that there could be no center to an infinite universe, no starting point, no outer limits or perimeter. He never withdrew his theory and in fact he proved that it was possible.  

            I think it's important that students, whether they're learning about evolution, cosmology, plate tectonics, or any other scientific fields should be aware of contradictory viewpoints even if the consensus view is strongly opposed to them. If not for the fact that too often consensus views turn out to be wrong later on, then to keep the time of their introduction in historical context.

            Darwin had to deal with a lot of negativity during the 20 years that it took him to publish his work and long after, not the least of which came from his own family. The prevailing view of the time was creationism and although that belief has been thoroughly debunked with concrete evolutionary science, it was still a historical factor in gaining a consensus on his theory, and the struggle continues due to the kind of willful ignorance we're seeing in the Texas school board of late.

            The textbooks continue to discuss debunked beliefs like "blood letting", "Earth centric universe", "flat Earth concept", etc and "creationism" rightly belongs in the dialogue whenever Darwin's struggle against the consensus of his time is discussed. And since Darwin and his life is discussed in biology books, so should the "fact" that he withstood very stiff criticism from his piers at the time. Nearly all of that criticism had to do with the way his theories contradicted creationism. And that's why it's relevant.

            As for the "physics professor" priest, let's not forget that award winning PhD professor Michael Behe" wrote "Darwin's black box", so I don't hold too much respect for someone just because they got a PhD and won some awards, that doesn't mean they can't be biased for their faith. Behe is certainly wrong and the physicist priest could be wrong as well. Don't forget that he formulated the Big Bang theory long before there was even the slightest evidence to support it. For a while the red shift evidence seemed to support his theory of expansion and later when the data showed that the red shift was accelerating, which directly contradicted the standard model, any number of ad hoc explanations have been presented none of which jives with any mathematical formula that we know of. It's problems like these that make it clear that we need to keep all options on the table.

            In the case of Creationism, it's not really an option for any rational minded person, but because so many people continue to use the mythical concept of creation as an argument against evolution, it's worth a mention if for no other reason than to educate the student as to why it isn't taken seriously by scientists these days any more than an Earth centric universe is.

            Question: Do you believe that India broke away from Antarctica so that it could dock into Asia and create the Himalayas? Do you believe in Pangaea? Because many textbooks these days don't offer any alternative to that theory. The closest they get is with the "land bridges" theory, but they manage to talk about it without saying that it contradicts Pangaea in any way. Plate tectonics is a very real and valid science, but to extrapolate a very small amount of data and say that India floated past Africa thousands of miles while retaining it's relative shape is so absurd that it boggles my mind that the textbooks don't point out the obvious problems with that theory which started to take shape 450 years ago.  
                 

            "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

            by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:46:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What I'm saying (0+ / 0-)

              regarding the Big Bang theory is that there is a widespread consensus in support of the theory, and that there's a reason for that widespread consensus--namely, the overwhelming body of scientific evidence in favor of the theory.  And again, whatever Einstein may have initially said after the theory was introduced, he later came to support it as added evidence contributed to its credibility.  For some reason, you seem to think that the debate over this theory that occurred within the few years after its introduction is the only part of the dialogue that matters.

              When students are learning in the context of a science classroom, "viewpoints" shouldn't be part of the equation. Students are there to learn about valid, falsifiable scientific concepts.  And while some science textbooks occasionally reference debunked ideas like geocentrism and belief in a flat earth, they do so within the context of a discussion about the history of scientific development--they certainly don't present them as valid viewpoints.  Yes, students should be exposed to scientific theories that aren't necessarily mainstream.  And yes, Darwinian evolution evolution was once considered outside the mainstream of scientific thought, and yes, Darwin did have to deal with a lot of negativity related to his theories.  But--and this is the important part--they were scientific theories, that could be (and were) subjected to the rigors of scientific research.  Creationism is NOT SCIENCE.  It is philosophy.  Science teachers have no more business discussing creationism in their classrooms than they do discussing Hegelian dialectic.

              And comparing Georges Lemaitre to Michael Behe is absolutely absurd.  You can put "physics professor" in scare quotes if you want, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he was in fact a respected scientist who subjected his work to rigorous peer review and who was recognized for his work.  There's no evidence that his work on the Big Bang theory was compromised by religious bias.  Michael Behe, on the other hand, is a Discovery Institute hack who has bypassed the peer review process altogether, and has even been repudiated by the biology department at his own university.

              Your statements about Big Bang theory and plate tectonics show that you have much to learn about both.  You ask if I "believe in Pangaea", refer to the land bridges "theory", and apparently believe that the two contradict each other somehow.  But these aren't separate theories, they're both components of plate tectonics theory.  India didn't "float" past Africa, and nothing I've seen has asserted that the continental drift that caused India to collide with Asia took anything less than tens of millions of years, or that it retained its relative shape while doing so.  In fact, most accounts I've seen specifically mention the fact that the Himalaya Mountains were created by the collision of India with Asia.

              Your understanding of the scientific process, and of the widely accepted theories that you suggest should be offset with superstition and unfalsifiable assertions, is limited, and that has a lot to do with why you think we should be presenting creationism and similar claptrap in our science classes.

              •  Theory vs. Viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

                Big Tex makes a number of sound points, demonstrating a thorough grounding in scientific education. I would like to reiterate that the viewpoints expressed by those who support creationism have nothing to do with science and are therefore not appropriate for the science classroom. Religious studies or even philosophical studies may address such beliefs.

                Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

                by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 09:52:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely not! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommymet, saildude

      Creationism is not science, period.  Science is an inductive process, by which we learn through observation, experiment, hypothesis confirmation or refutation, and reproducible results.  We use science to organize and understand empirical information.  It is the very opposite of a belief system.  

      Creationism is deductive, that is it starts from a "truth" and proceeds to explain observations about the world so as to be consistent with that overriding principle.  Think of elaborate theories about the motion of the planets and stars derived from the medieval church's "truth" that the Earth was the center of the Universe, about which everything revolved. Like that, creationism is simply not science.  If someone wants to believe it, and sing its praises in their home and church - fine.  But to teach it in a science class fundamentally misrepresents what science is and how it works.  It is pernicious because it undermines not only the information about specific subjects but the principles by which we know what we know and how we discover what we don't know yet.  

      I had religious study classes in high school, where we studied theology from a historical and philosophical perspective.  Put creationism in that mix, and I have no problem with its inclusion in a public school class.  It has no business in science classes.

      •  Creationism is not science. We agree on that. (0+ / 0-)

        However, to say that the mythical concept of creationism shouldn't be mentioned in the historical context of Darwin's great struggle is the same as saying that Galileo's struggle against the Catholic church also shouldn't be mentioned when talking about a heliocentric universe.

        Of course the textbooks rightly discuss the controversy that Galileo dealt with and so should the controversy about Darwin and the way creationism has, and continues to effect education policy in Texas.

        Galileo was a scientist that had to deal with persecution and ignorance from conservatives, and so was Darwin. The only difference is that they finally excepted Galileo's science and they still haven't accepted Darwin's. These things take time, but ignoring the controversy doesn't help debunk the myth, if anything it allows it to go unchecked.

        "The government has got into the hands of the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." -- Woodrow Wilson

        by DickMacgurn on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:57:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I call bullshit on this (0+ / 0-)

      You've no idea what you're talking about. Besides, high school is where you learn what is known about science; very few teenagers are capable of actually making a contribution to the knowledge base because they haven't yet mastered what is known.

      Evolution is beyond a testable hypothesis, it is a FACT. All we are doing at this point is evaluating the details of how it has occurred.

      Life isn't a battle between good and evil, it's a battle between signal and noise.

      by ChemBob on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:32:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  alternate theories (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies

      Beliefs about origins—what Republican Tom Ratliff has identified as the Who and Why—are the subject of philosophy rather than science.  Evolutionary biologists look a fossil records and what can be observed and measured.  I think it only confuses the issue if we start mixing disciplines and discuss "creative design," when there is nothing to measure or observe. It really isn't a theory, because it doesn't explain phenomena; it simply posits a belief.  There is simply speculation.  I believe a teacher needs to be prepared to address these questions, but non-theories do not need to be included in scientific textbooks.

  •  Best suggestion I've heard (9+ / 0-)

    Board members should seriously reconsider this process and assure parents that they are putting the education of Texas schoolchildren first. Doing so requires only some fairly simple steps.

    First, the current process should be halted and resumed only when the newly elected state board members take their seats in January. Doing so will help the board create a new process that is better insulated from personal and political agendas. There is no need to hurry through the revision of standards that will guide what our children learn for a decade.

    Any chance of this?

    •  Are you kidding? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, DRo

      Don McLeroy who lost the R primary to a reasonable guy is still crowing about the power he has and fully intends to use it while he has it.

      "I agree with you now make me do it!" FDR

      by JC Dufresne on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:06:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  new process at SBOE (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, DRo

      I am looking at the history of SBOE, and it has a number of precedents and changes throughout its existence.  I agree that we need to carefully examine the process for such an important decision.  I believe there is hope for a better curriculum and textbooks, particularly if we plan for a future of electronic books and open source material.  The board must be more forward-looking and it must make data-based decisions.

  •  Even though I don't live in Texas (7+ / 0-)

    I am definitely rooting for you!

    Socially liberal, environmentally conservative, economically centrist.

    by Princess Sunshine on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:47:29 PM PDT

  •  We need reason... (15+ / 0-)

    on the Texas State Board of Education. And we also need relevant experience. Over half of the individuals on the current board have neither, yet they are the ones to decide on the curricula for Texas. Not only that, but because Texas has such a large population, Texas curricula determines to a large extent what is printed in textbooks and, therefore, what is offered to the rest of the country.

    I currently live in Texas and am getting my PhD from Texas State University. I work on an NSF Fellowship in the San Marcos High School. I have seen first hand the detrimental results of a poor education at both the high school and college levels. I have had students say that they were taught that the slaves had it good. In teaching evolution, I am constantly challenged by those students who do not "believe" in evolution. As a graduate assistant who had to help students with their writing skills, I have seen a severe lack of skill in writing. These students come to university quite ill-prepared to learn, to write, to synthesize information, and to think at a college level. And all of this I experienced prior to the new Board standards. I shudder to think about what the future holds if we do not succeed in getting more people on the Board like Rebecca Bell-Metereau.

    •  I wonder what would happen if these (3+ / 0-)

      texts are actually taught and suddenly fewer students pass AP exams and maybe colleges aren't so eager to accept TX credits because the curriculum is so bad.

      I think appealing to the practical degradation of their children's education might appeal to parents. Since a lot of people regard college as just advanced vocational training, the thought that their precious child might not get into a good college because of the crappy education they got in TX might really bother them.

      I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows. --Susan B. Anthony

      by ohiolibrarian on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:28:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been wondering about this too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lirtydies
        Especially since I have kids in high school here in Texas.  I'm making an assumption that the AP classes will not use a "Texas" textbook, since the curriculum has to be pretty much a national standard; otherwise the kids wouldn't pass the test.  (You'd think I'd know this, since my oldest kid is taking four AP classes this year.)

        You would also think that business leaders would discourage this kind of crap from the SBOE.  Surely it is not to their advantage to have an ignorant employee pool.  And like you, I've been wondering if colleges outside of Texas would start refusing to admit Texas students, citing insufficient rigor of education.

  •  I'm north of the river, so in Judy's district (7+ / 0-)

    but happy to support both of you. I really hope we can have some sensible people in office after November.

  •  needs a moneybomb (13+ / 0-)

    Don't know how to stir the level of wrath necessary for a moneybomb, but that is what would truly light this race up and make it nationally visible. These are $250k races per the campaign consultant helping Rebecca & Judy and they need to about double that for the media requirements.

     We've put together a little working group to help them, just some locals and some national bloggers, and that's nice but we really need to put some heat on this - Texas affects the national textbook market and all we need is kook thinking inscribed in a generation of school kids.

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:52:28 PM PDT

  •  Awesome stuff, Rebecca! Good luck in Nov (5+ / 0-)

    Remember, the reason Conservatives want to rewrite history is because they are always on the wrong side of it!

    Cheers

    FULL DISCLOSURE - I'm a paid employee of PeanutButterPAC, a progressive, Kossack founded PAC.

    by MinistryOfTruth on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:54:26 PM PDT

  •  Rebecca, what assistance do you need? (11+ / 0-)

    There are lots of resources available to assist you on your journey to doing what is right for the children of our country.

    Please, let us know.  We are at the very least, resourceful.  At the very most, extremely helpful to those that care.

    In a progressive country change is constant; change is inevitable.

    by funluvn1 on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:58:30 PM PDT

    •  give her money (0+ / 0-)

      that is what the diary is for, it sure wasn't to spark a debate.

      I love people looking for donations signing up, waiting their week, posting their righteous diary, and then fleeing without making a single comment (or having their handler make a single comment).

      I agree with everything in this diary, just can't abide the shameful prostitution of dkos politicians looking for quick cash.

      But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have laid my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. -- Yeats

      by Bill O Rights on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:04:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some don't understand the first time they post (7+ / 0-)

        If it becomes a trend, then I have to agree.  I've not checked to see if this is Rebecca's first post, but I'm guessing it might be.  

        Hopefully she will drop in soon and it will become obvious that questions need to be answered in order to see any kind of real assistance from this group of progressives.

        In a progressive country change is constant; change is inevitable.

        by funluvn1 on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:08:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  oh, please (9+ / 0-)

         That's rather unfair - Rebecca is quite accessible - she gave us (me, Spedwybabs, MinistryOfTruth) an interview last week that provided the basis for the various things we've written, she and her campaign people are available to those who will write about the subject, they're hooking up with local grassroots organizers, etc, etc, etc.

         And it's a holiday afternoon - the diary I posted today got ONE comment. And that was my tip jar.

         I already know Rebecca and Judy are more interested in figuring out how to connect with the energy the netroots can bring to their campaigns and I imagine they'll convince others as the race progresses.

        "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

        by Stranded Wind on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:10:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

          I was delighted with the tsunami of responses to my first post.  I can't respond to everyone, but I'm certainly willing to discuss ideas in as many posts as I can manage.  I spent all day answering people, and then throughout the week I had to live my other life.  I don't mean to appear thin-skinned, but I do believe we should place our energies here in trying to craft an intelligent, focused response to the real opponents in this debate and to craft an argument and a message for the 5% to 8% who may be persuadable in Texas.  I would like to hear ideas on that issue.

          Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

          by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:08:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Campaign or Prostitution? (0+ / 0-)

        I have made comments and replies to a number of posts.  Because I work as a professor, my primary job is teaching students.  Running for an unpaid position constitutes a second full-time job, and unfortunately it requires fund-raising.  However, the ideas behind this campaign are serious and the issue of curriculum and textbook selection in Texas is important to the entire nation.  This is the moment when people can stand up and do something or simply discuss their ideas.  I am giving up all the free time in my life for an entire year in order to right the wrong that is taking place in Texas.  It is not prostitution to ask for money to shape the education of millions of school children across the nation.  

        Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

        by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:00:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rebecca Bell Meterau's website (6+ / 0-)

      In a progressive country change is constant; change is inevitable.

      by funluvn1 on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:11:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Assistance (0+ / 0-)

      Please contact me through my website voterebecca.com, and we'll be delighted to have your help.

      Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

      by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 09:53:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Teh situation (5+ / 0-)

    Rebecca Bell-Metereau is my hero!!!1

    "Calls for economic democracy may be painted as anti-business, but that's a bit like painting George Washington as anti-government." - Marjorie Kelly

    by Goodkind on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 02:58:42 PM PDT

  •  disagree on one point (6+ / 0-)

    Aat the risk of sounding like an old fart, I know scads of people, spouse included, who cannot spell to save their life and completely freeze when they encuounter an unfamiliar word, all victims of "look say" English learning instead of phonics.  They've never heard of "sounding it out."  But best of luck in reclaiming the embarassing school board.

    Oh, for Pete's sake! -8.38, -6.77

    by sow hat on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:11:22 PM PDT

    •  cripes (6+ / 0-)

      That's encounter.  Thus endeth the lecture which makes me look ditzy.

      Oh, for Pete's sake! -8.38, -6.77

      by sow hat on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:13:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, m00finsan, sow hat

      I have two children, four years apart, and one was taught phonics and the other was not.

      The one who was taught phonics is a vastly better reader. The one who was taught what I laughingly call "sight reading" reads the first three or four letters of a word and guesses what it is. She is often wrong. And it makes her reading experience much less valuable -- and less fun! -- than it could be.

      Phonics is a valuable part of a reading curriculum.

      The rest of the SBOE's suggestions are, for the most part, a lot of nonsense.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:58:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  more on phonics (0+ / 0-)

        Since you have two children, it's possible that one child might not have fared any better with phonics.  It's also possible that the one who learned phonics might have done as well with another method. It's sometimes difficult to sort out cause and effect, and it's also possible that the two teachers had different skills or spent different amounts of time teaching reading.  My objection to the board's decision was that they had an either-or mentality that does not serve education.  The same applies to their decisions in the social studies curriculum.  I repeat that teachers should use whatever method works, and a good teacher will recognize what is working with different learners.

        Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

        by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:20:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  for clarity (0+ / 0-)

      it's not the school board.

      People often put some amount of care and effort into their decisions about who gets on the school board.  This is for the State Board of Education--a group few people know the function of.  They set the curricula and content of the textbooks, among other things.

      "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

      by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 04:27:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  phonics (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the good wishes.  In response to your comment, spelling doesn't seem to have that much to do with phonics, since English is one of the least phonetic languages.  This is because of our history, which includes words that were pronounced differently before the great vowel shift.  Also, the ability to spell seems to be a combination of reading a lot and having a natural ability, something like having a good ear in music.  However, many people who read avidly are not good spellers, and some who don't read much happen to be good at spelling.  I say the teacher should use whatever method works for individual learners.  Meanwhile, let's all be glad we have spell check, which catches most misspellings.

      Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

      by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:15:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Somebody needs... (5+ / 0-)
    ..to write a dairy giving a detailed analysis of how a bunch of ignorant hicks in Texas get to single-handedly choose what does, & does not, go into text books.

    I know all about the "Texas is the largest distributor of text books" thing.  But that doesn't explain how a small cabal of disrespectful loons are allowed to insert into text books what amounts to Tea Party political/historical revision & right wing extremist ideology.

    I have always been under the idealistic impression that the contents of text books:

    1. Are the result of a general consensus, reached by a collaborative effort of the educated.    

    2. Are taken seriously by educated people, instead of treated like a game by a bunch of Mike Vanderboegh & Sarah Palin-types.

    3. Respected our children enough to educate them instead of rendering them useless via useless data.

    Somebody explain what went wrong here.

    Consequences have elections.

    by wyvern on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:30:20 PM PDT

    •  Election of wingnuts when no one was (6+ / 0-)

      paying attention.

      "I agree with you now make me do it!" FDR

      by JC Dufresne on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:02:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Get this: I am in SBOE district 10 in TX. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, wyvern

      My representative for the last few years has been Cynthia Dunbar.  Here is an example of Ms. Dunbar's brilliance:

      State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar isn't backing down from her claim that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is plotting with terrorists to attack the U.S.

      In a column posted on the Christian Worldview Network Web site, Dunbar wrote that a terrorist attack on America during the first six months of an Obama administration "will be a planned effort by those with whom Obama truly sympathizes to take down the America that is threat to tyranny."

      As if that weren't enough, Ms. Dunbar homeschooled her own children, since she also believes that

      ...public education is a "subtly deceptive tool of perversion" as well as saying that "The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even 'tyrannical'."

      Yeah, I can't believe it either.  By some miracle, this nutjob isn't running for reelection this year.  Maybe she thinks Obama's coming for her....

    •  How did this happen? (0+ / 0-)

      We were asleep at the wheel while right-wing extremists got themselves organized, for a variety of ideological and financial reasons.  It's not just about the beliefs; it's about the money.  Look at Fox News, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh.  They are making big bucks from inflaming people's worst fears and hatred.  We can't succumb to that tactic, but we do need to wake people up. In the words of Glenn Beck, "I fear for my country."

      Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

      by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:44:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck! I hope you win BIG time. (4+ / 0-)

    We are surrounded by home-schooled politically elected yahoos in my state. The dumbest bunch of idiots I've ever seen, and I fear they will try to do to us what your school board has done to you.

    We need to stomp them out like cockroaches.

    "The Public Option = Peace of Mind for all Citizens."      -- R.L.

    by Canaryinthecoalmine on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:37:10 PM PDT

  •  These days, if you want to learn anything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trueblueliberal

    you have to study independently outside of school, during your free time...

  •  If you live in or near Rebecca's district (3+ / 0-)

    contact your friends and neighbors and talk to them about voting for her. We all know that this is a an off year election and turnout will be depressed. That means that getting out the vote can make all the difference in the world. If we all take responsibility for getting out 10 voters that will make a huge difference.

    "I agree with you now make me do it!" FDR

    by JC Dufresne on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:44:56 PM PDT

  •  Even in 1950 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, DRo

    I think few American citizens had problems with textbooks that mentioned Thomas Jefferson as one of our nation's founding fathers.  The current crop of RW extremists belongs to its own peculiar era.

    -5.13,-5.64; EVERYTHING is an approximation! -Hans A. Bethe

    by gizmo59 on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 03:46:21 PM PDT

  •  Our children can't exceed our acheivments (7+ / 0-)

    unless they have more knowledge to work with.

    It's gotten to the point - speaking as someone with a fairly successful business career - that people are thinking twice before doing business in Texas. Would you move jobs to a state that has the highest level of people without health insurance, AND among the highest premiums in the world?

    20 years ago, Texas could compete with any state in the nation. Now, we are pretty much left depending only on inertia and geography.

    When business associates ask where I'm from, I used to answer Texas. Now, I refer to where I was born. It's a lot easier not having to explain away the buffoonery of Rick Perry when trying to earn someone's confidence.

  •  How reassuring to see clear, thoughtful writing (7+ / 0-)

    from a candidate for the school board.  You were clearly a good student who learned how to think critically, evaluate information, and express yourself factually and persuasively.  What could be more important than passing on these skills to the next generation.

    Thank you for running.  I wish you the best of luck. Indeed, it is important to all of us that tyranny not be empowered by the suppression of real teaching, the suppression of real science, or the suppression of real journalism.

    The falsifications and fictions that are ruling us have become life-threatening.

    by geomoo on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:07:00 PM PDT

  •  I don't know for a fact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, DRo

    ...but I think that the Texas State Board of Education was for its time more progressive than the current board is for its time.

    I think that the current board's alignment with ignorance is unprecedented in American education.

    It doesn't aim at suppression but at falsification of facts.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:19:55 PM PDT

  •  Not just Texas but ALL U. S. Textbooks !!! (9+ / 0-)

    While I thank Ms. Bell-Metereau and wish her success with her candidacy, I do not think she has gone quite far enough.

    "Extremist members of the elected, non-paid Texas State Board of Education have hijacked textbook selection and curriculum requirements for future generations of Texas school children..."

    That is only a small part of the story.

    Because Texas adopts textbooks state-wide based upon these wingnut decisions and other states adopt textbooks district-by-district, major textbook publishers rewrite their books to win Texas adoption.

    It isn't just future generations of Texas children, but ALL children in the United States.

    We ALL suffer because of the wingnuts.

    This message needs to be spread to every parent in the country.

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

    by Eman on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 04:43:51 PM PDT

  •  Board Member Don McLeroy on confronting experts (5+ / 0-)

    "Somebody's gotta stand up to experts" near 0:57.

    This board is shameful group of unashamed ignoramuses.  That they hold office is a monument to apathy.  They stand for provincialism, and they "stand up to experts."  Think about that.  "Someone's got to stand up to experts."  We need to get this egregious gang of goofballs out of office, pronto.  These misinformed misanthropes stand for ignorance, and keeping other people's children that way.  These people are a menace to civilized traditions, because they seek to replace enlightenment values with bronze-age bullpuckey.

  •  I was editing, and lost my diary (6+ / 0-)

    Here is what I want to say:  This is for Texans to solve.  It really matters.  And I am pleased that you are trying to step forward into this climate.

    I think that Texas children deserve a chance to compete in this world.  They deserve a chance to learn about biology.  They deserve to learn about the Federalist Papers and how hard Madison and Hamilton and Jefferson struggled to figure out how to construct a republic that was larger than any that had been tried.  It was extremely difficult, and to downplay the people who did the work, the hard cerebrating, feels wrong.

    Also you should care about your children's knowledge of biology.  It is like a building block of science.  Science is a building block for major professions.

    Religious faith is religious faith because it relies on faith.  It is not something that can be proven.  Let people rely on faith without proof if they must.  But do not deny the children of a huge state to become ignorant of the basic building blocks of science and history.

    Texas deserves better.  But I'll believe it more strongly when it proves it wants better, that it wants to be part of the 21st century.

    We can't go backward to the 50's anymore than we can go to the horse and buggy days.  Technology will sweep us onward.  Are you Texans strong enough and wise enough to face the future by facing truthfully our country's past?

  •  The answer: 2010 BC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, m00finsan, DRo

    That's what the right-wing extremists want, anyway. Thanks for leading in the effort to push back against these nutjobs.

  •  Rebecca, I'm in District 5 (8+ / 0-)

    and have 2 children in public schools.  Thank you for running, and for posting on Daily Kos.  As womankind wisely pointed out above, this is for Texans to solve, but a little national attention doesn't hurt either. We Texans live with a culture of "Everything is better in Texas" (how many states devote a whole year of social studies to their state's history?  in how many states do students in public school recite a State Pledge after the Pledge of Allegiance?) So some national input can only serve to shine a light on all of us and make us (hopefully) look at ourselves a bit more objectively.
    Good luck, and I look forward to helping you win.  Yours will be a much-needed voice for clarity and rational thinking that will benefit all our children.    
     

    "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

    by karmacat on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:11:26 PM PDT

    •  Your pastor is paraphrasing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, m00finsan

      a Brazilian archbishop, Dom Hélder Câmara: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they're poor, they call me a communist."

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:18:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, I know. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lirtydies, m00finsan

        He said that at a rally for the Public Option (oh, so long ago!!), in the midst of the Tea Party Summer of Hell and the Obama Socialist Takeover of Medicine and America.

        It got a mighty ovation.  

        "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

        by karmacat on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 05:31:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  In California we spend 4th grade (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, m00finsan

      on California history. I've had the impression that every state does something similar in 4th grade.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:15:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In Maryland, where I went to elementary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Freakinout daily, m00finsan

      and junior high, we had Maryland state history in seventh grade.

      I also graduated from high school in Texas. We never once said the Texas state pledge, and neither did either of my kids who went to Texas public schools for 12 years each in cities all across the state.

      I'm not sure where and when you went, but I don't think they do that everywhere if they ever did.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:06:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice to know Texas isn't the only state (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mosquito Pilot

        that teaches a full year of state history (7th grade here too).  The State Pledge became mandatory in TX public schools in 03; the "lege" added the words "one state under God" in 07.  

        "If you talk about helping the poor, they call you a Christian. If you actually do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist." Pastor Jim Rigby

        by karmacat on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:47:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Texas Pledge (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lirtydies

        is alive and well in TX schools right now.  Along with some strange hand gestures.

        How does one go from "One nation under God" in the US pledge to "Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible." Which is it, state or federal allegiance?

        This and the Board of Elections,
        And people wonder why a progressive in TX would homeschool....

        I'm a Kennedy Catholic.

        by EquiStar on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:54:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but did you spend an ENTIRE YEAR (0+ / 0-)

        on Maryland state history?  As karmacat said, 7th grade here in Texas requires the entire year's social studies class to focus on Texas history.  My kids know way more about cattle branding than they really need to...I'd rather they spent one grading period, or even a semester if absolutely necessary, studying Texas, and use the rest of the year to do civics!

      •  Never heard of the state pledge until (0+ / 0-)

        I went to an event at my daughter's school.  I went k-12 + 4 years at UT Austin w/out ever hearing or hearing of a state pledge.

        "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

        by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 04:17:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's for the kids, right? (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for your support.  Talk to any social group you have, and figure out what part of this they really care about.  Inspire them to get involved, or at least vote.  That's what the right-wingers did, so we have to beat them at this game, because it's not just a game.  It's for the kids!

      Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

      by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:28:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  national eyes on Texas education (0+ / 0-)

      Not only does national attention not hurt; it may be the only thing that will rescue us from a network of extreme right-wing radicals.  I hope you and your fellow moms and dads will get involved.  

      I know some people on Daily Kos look down on political candidates' diaries, because they may not be as thought-provoking and creative as other diaries, but they serve a vital function.  We must use our social networks to influence voters, donors, and feet-on-the-ground workers and helpers.  Visit my website and contact me to help when you have the time and inclination.  Thanks for the encouragement!

      Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

      by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:41:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Added a new election tag (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, m00finsan

    TX-SBOE

    Good luck!

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:21:50 PM PDT

  •  What stupidity - State of Texas should be closed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies

    for renovation. What is it about the stupid that just grows?

    Because Texas buys so many textbooks, the Texas board's impact throughout the country will be a very heavy burden. Too heavy.

    They only call it class war when we fight back! h/t: buhdydharma The work goes on....

    by ezdidit on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:38:23 PM PDT

  •  I think the Texas BoE (0+ / 0-)

    was more progressive in 1950 then.

    When I was in high school 25 years ago, I heard how the Texas BoE complicity in what is taught in schools accross the country.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 06:59:46 PM PDT

  •  I live in your District and gave proudly to your (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, Mosquito Pilot, powderblue

    campaign a couple of weeks ago.  

    I am just appalled at what this Board has done to education, sending it back 200 years.

    Most Texans are Moderates and voted the head guy out but he still gets to make decisions all the way up until his term is up.

    Scary.  This country needs to go forward and at every turn we seem to be going back, by the power of a few.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:13:03 PM PDT

  •  I wish you good luck! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, EquiStar, sow hat

    One question: What do you consider to be a more effective means of basic language skill instruction than phonics? I ask this as someone who was very effectively taught by my parents, at the age of 4, to "sound out" the words I was trying to read. That's phonics, isn't it?

    •  reading (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure you remember everything your parents did, but if they used flash cards to help you memorize words--especially tricky ones like night or fight--then you had something beyond phonics.  There are a lot of rules and exceptions to "sounding out" words, and, for some children, it's easier to look at the whole word and remember what it is or use the beginning of the word to guess, or to use a combination of techniques.  The best thing to do, of course, is to read to children from the time they're born.  Then they have all those factors combined with repetition and a satisfying emotional connection to reading.  

      Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

      by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:33:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Best of luck (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, lirtydies

    Under the radar there are some extremely important races this year. You and Judy Jennings for Texas Board of Education, and the candidates covered by the Secretary of State Project are among the most important they are, and they will be decided by a very small number of votes, I suspect. Donated already, but when I get the chance will donate to all these races again.

  •  Thank you Rebecca. This is a very important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies

    matter.  Right up there with the composition of the Supreme Court.

  •  you had me in everything up to dismissal of phoni (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, RebeccaBellMetereau, sow hat

    phonics.  Phonics is an essential tool for decoding the written word for those of us with LDs like dyslexia (which I have).  Phonics should not be the ONLY tool in an educators tool box, but it should not be dismissed either in favor of a total and complete whole language approach where phonics fears to tread.

    I am an educator and an education advocate.  An educators tool box should include all approaches since every child learns differently and that difference can change from subject to subject.

    Plus if you modify your position a bit where Phonics is concerned you will garner more support from those who believe phonics to be the only way to teach reading.

    My senator, Scott Brown, is running against non-candidate Rachel Maddow, because his best friend, Harvey, told him to.

    by Clytemnestra on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 07:49:36 PM PDT

    •  phonics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, Al Stanley

      I never intended to reject totally the use of phonics.  Rather, I wanted to point out that Mercer rejected "whole language" as one of his key accomplishments, bragging that the board gave the teachers a "well deserved spanking."  See my other post on phonics, where I maintain that a good teacher uses every possible tool.  

      We had two daughters, and one seemed to be able to use phonics, while the other was definitely a "whole language" kind of learner. From our limited experience with our two daughters, it seemed to have something to do with a learner's propensity for taking risks or learning something gradually, step-by-step, versus the kind of learner who wants the certainty of simply recognizing or memorizing a whole word. Both girls ended up being voracious readers.

      I'm not a reading specialist, and I would certainly listen to a wide variety of specialists in the field before I made any decisions about curriculum.  I just don't believe it has to be either-or in this particular arena.

  •  I'm here to tell you... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that we transpeople do indeed exist.

  •  Best of luck to you, the rest of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies

    America is depending on you.

    CBC ran a story about the changes to the Texas textbooks, and the reason they said we should all care, is that all the textbooks across America will have to be changed, as Texas won't have exclusively different textbooks.

  •  This is extremely important. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies

    ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

    by ArthurPoet on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 08:43:53 PM PDT

  •  Helen Keller a socialist .. indeed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, RebeccaBellMetereau

    Her brand of socialism is quite extreme by today's standards. The ignorance of these right wingers is laughable.

    All politics are local. We as a community need to support principles of intellect and common sense at the front lines - the school boards.

    Here's Rebecca's Act Blue account, we all know what we need to do. I can't even afford it, and I'm doing it anyway.

    http://www.actblue.com/...

  •  More like 1920s or the fourteenth century (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies
  •  But 1950 is by definition the present (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matx

    ... if you're an archeologist.

    sorry; couldn't resist.

  •  Teach the truth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies

    That's what matters.  Removing Jefferson as a key architect in writing the constitution is a falsehood.

    You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

    by noofsh on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:33:35 AM PDT

  •  You go, girl. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies

    Texans deserve better than the pack of neanderthals currently overruling the sensible few on the board. Given Texas's impact on textbooks across the U.S., Americans deserve better.

  •  Posting a diary here? Kiss of death for your (0+ / 0-)

    campaign.

    "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

    by alliedoc on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 05:44:36 AM PDT

    •  Why would you say that? (0+ / 0-)

      I would be afraid to support a Democrat who wouldn't post on DK.

      "The eyes of the people are fast opening! Fight on!"--Andrew Jackson

      by Al Stanley on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 08:05:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't think Texas would elect a democrat (0+ / 0-)

        who had any sort of liberal/progressive cred.  I could see it on an ad ... Posted on the far-left Daily Kos ... as they call us.  I hope the diarist got my intention.  I meant it in the most cynical way, I guess.  

        "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

        by alliedoc on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 08:08:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Attack ads (0+ / 0-)

          I think we'll have to be prepared for worse ads than "She posted on Daily Kos"!  The best thing I can do is to be a voice of reason and civility and to keep the focus on the true purpose of the board, in order to win over people who value experience and commitment to education, regardless of whether they consider themselves liberal, progressive, or conservative.

          Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

          by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:39:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Voice of reason? That's a new one!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RebeccaBellMetereau

            I really think that deep down inside, people want their kids to do well on exams and know stuff ... even evo-lution!  At least I hope so.

            "I want my America back!" -- But, which America is that?

            by alliedoc on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 02:46:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  People do care about kids (0+ / 0-)

              You're right.  We need to focus on how much people care about their kids.  Even if some parents don't accept the theory of evolution, they may be amenable to the argument that their kids won't do well in college or science-related careers if they don't learn scientific method and evolutionary theory.

              The parents can teach them at home whatever they want about origins or religious beliefs, but that doesn't have a place in the science classroom.

              Candidate for Texas State Board of Education District 5

              by RebeccaBellMetereau on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:29:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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