Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why picking a fight on the SBOE was a net wash for Bill White...

Bill White has tried to inject himself into the SBOE curriculum standards issue. He has also tried to bring the issue into the race against Rick.

Why again now?

Texans support what the SBOE is doing. For pete's sake we the people elected that SBOE... all fifteen of them.

More than that... what the SBOE did was pretty non controversial. Check out this new web site just state the facts (link). Excerpts follow...

They claim Thomas Jefferson is not in the standards.

The fact is that Thomas Jefferson is in the Texas Social Studies standards numerous times, including:

  • In Grade 5: "Founding Father and Patriot her(o)...Thomas Jefferson..".
  • In Grade 8: for "significant individuals that played a role in the American Revolution.....Thomas Jefferson..."
  • In U.S. Government (twice) "the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including...Thomas Jefferson...".
  • In World History: Students must “explain the political philosophies of individuals such as…Thomas Jefferson...
  • Moreover, the Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson authored, is referenced at least 25 times throughout the K-12 Social Studies standards.

  • [SNIP]
  • They claim that that the term slavery was taken out of the standards.

    The fact is slavery is in the standards.

    For the correct context of this misleading information, one section of the standards, before it was changed on Thursday, said this:

    “explain reasons for the development of the plantation system, the Atlantic triangular growth of the slave trade, and the spread of slavery; and…”

    There were no official objections to this language, by Republicans or Democrats, in January when the initial change was made.

    Then, last week the State Board of Education voted 15-0 to change the phrase “Atlantic Triangular Trade” to “Transatlantic Slave Trade”.

    Slavery is covered numerous other times throughout the K-12 course.

    They claim there are no references to capitalism.

    The fact is capitalism is in every grade of social studies standards starting at grade 2.

    "Students identify the role of the U.S. free enterprise system within the parameters of this course and understand that this system may also be referenced as capitalism or the free market system."

    They claim that minorities and women have been diminished or “whitewashed”.

    The fact is the following minorities, women, cases and groups are covered by the social studies standards:

    Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr, Sonia Sotomayor, Barack H. Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Wallace Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony, Lorenzo de Zavala, Booker T. Washington, Henry B. Gonzalez, Hector P. Garcia, Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr., Jose Antonio Navarro, Hillary Clinton, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Ochoa, Harriet Tubman, Roy Benavides, John”Danny” Olivas, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, George Washington Carver, many others.

    Landmark cases covered:

    Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Edgewood I.S.D. v. Kirby, Mendez v. Westminster, Roe v. Wade

    Tejano leaders:

    Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro are covered, including the significant contributions of Tejanos such as Juan N. Seguín, Plácido Benavides, and Jose Francisco Ruiz during the time period of the Texas Revolution, The Republic of Texas, and the annexation of Texas to the United States. Standards also include the following Tejanos who died at the Alamo, Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier.

    Groups: LULAC, NAACP.

What would possess a liberal Democrat to try to pick a fight on the culture wars in conservative Texas? Even the independents in Texas are conservative, and they don't particularly care for pinheaded professors and liberals from the Obama administration telling us what to teach our kids. The standards aren't radical right wing standards. The more I read about them the more I believe they actually lean a bit to the left... with a few bones thrown in there to conservatives.

Rick in the primary largely stayed out of the social conservative culture wars, and he has continued that in the general election. He focuses on economic issues almost exclusively...

Bill White spent a million dollars on television and lost ground in the polls in part because he was trying to pick a fight in the culture wars on education that is a losing issue for him...

If the SBOE really had removed Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum standards, we would all have a right to be angry... but they didn't.

William Murchison sums it up well (link). Excerpt follows...

If we Texans don't know by now what a lot of louts and clods we are, we'll surely know it once the national intelligentsia get through raking us over the coals for our state education board's vote last week to primitivize our schools and debase young minds. That's assuming our leaders of thought ever do get through with that holy mission.

They may not. The State Board of Education's offense is great -- namely, restoring to notice in Texas textbooks, to a certain eminence even, quaint ideas about federalism and the religious viewpoint of the American founders.

A liberal Democratic board member who voted against the standard is "ashamed of what we have done to the students and teachers of this state." That should give you some idea of the infamy we have incurred.

Andy Hogue believes as I do that the unfounded attacks will backfire (link). Excerpt follows...

While Democrats (and a few liberal Republicans) may have scored a few points in the court of public opinion during the curriculum-setting process, their reaction could easily backfire on them, given the emerging political landscape.

Even though former SBOE chairman Don McLeroy was defeated in the GOP primary, the electorate as a whole is trending conservative — especially with the triumph of Tea Party-backed conservatives over moderates in recent primaries.

With the Obama Administration now involved (via Duncan’s comment), and the American Civil Liberties Union throwing around what weight it might have to discredit SBOE conservatives, any Republican who dares to take away power from the SBOE will be perceived as collaborating with the Obama Administration and the ACLU.

No doubt Bill White probably raised some money off the SBOE attacks. He probably gets above average applause at his speaking engagements when he mentions the SBOE to a group of partisan Democrats... but is he really moving the dial on this issue?


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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.