Thursday, January 14, 2010

SBOE hearings on Social Studies standards

The Texas Freedom Network has been liveblogging the Texas State Board of Education hearings on setting new standards for social studies textbooks.

Testifying were a mix of academics urging the board to not politicize the social studies textbooks, a number of people representing Latino groups urging more inclusion of Hispanic culture and history in the textbooks, and a bunch of ignorant teabaggers ranting about "socialism" and failing to provide any specific examples of their criticisms.

The part I found most interesting was at the end when the board closed promptly at 6 p.m. leaving many people who had waited all day to testify hanging...

6:10 – The board is closing today’s testimony. SBOE Chair Gail Lowe notes that Gov. Rick Perry today made an announcement on federal Race to the Top funding. In fact, Gov. Perry said Texas will not seek the $700 million that would be available through that funding stream.

6:13 – The board is getting angry comments from people who waited all day to testify. They’re demanding that the board continue hearing testimony. (We sympathize. After all, the board isn’t often asked to listen to their constituents on these issues.) A motion to extend the hearing fails on a tie vote. In the chaos, it’s hard to tell how all of the board members voted. But most of the “no” votes appear to have come from the board’s far-right faction. Surprised?

6:18 – Now would-be testifiers are shouting in anger. More chaos. The chair, Gail Lowe, has to break a tie on a motion to adjourn the meeting. Could there be a clearer representation of the indifference some board members have for the concerns of their constituents?

UPDATE: After adjournment, the state board’s five Democrats remained to continue listening to testimony from those who were unable to speak before the hearing ended. Many of the remaining testifiers were Latinos, some of whom had traveled from across the state to the hearing.

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