New ACLU Of Texas Report Documents State Board Of Education Abuse Of Power

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Dotty Griffith, Public Education Director, ACLU of Texas, (512) 478-7300 x 106 or 923-1909; dgriffith@aclutx.org

New ACLU Of Texas Report Documents State Board Of Education Abuse Of Power

Legislature Should Establish Guidelines For Curriculum Standards

AUSTIN, TX - A new report from the American
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas released today calls for the
State Legislature to check the State Board of Education's "systemic
abuse" of power by limiting the Board's ability to insert personal
ideologies into curriculum content.

"The
State Board of Education (SBOE) has abused its power by inserting
members' narrow, personal beliefs into the development of what should
be a world class program of study.
A public school curriculum should promote academic integrity, not ideological agendas," said ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke.

The
SBOE is scheduled to meet from May 18-21 to adopt new social studies
curriculum standards. The period for public comment ends May 19.
"Recent news reports that the SBOE has received more than 20,000 public
comments is a good sign that this government body can no longer operate
without accountability," Burke added. "The SBOE should vote to reject this curriculum as amended. A new process for revising the curriculum should be instituted."

The
ACLU of Texas report, "The Texas State Board of Education: A Case of
Abuse of Power," tracks the Board's long-running abuse of power, which
began in the mid-1990s. From manipulating textbook content to inserting
personal ideological beliefs into Texas' curriculum standards, the
Board has repeatedly shown its inability to place the well-being of
Texas's schoolchildren ahead of its activist agenda. The report was
drafted and edited by Frank Knaack, Legal Advocacy Coordinator of the
ACLU of Texas.

In
addition, the report recommends that the Texas Legislature should limit
the Board's power, establish minimum academic qualifications for all
persons involved in the review and adoption of curriculum standards,
and implement a statutory system of checks and balances to prevent
future abuse. A list of recommendations from the ACLU of Texas follows.

See the full report as a PDF at www.aclutx.org/sboereport  

ACLU Of Texas Recommendations To Restore Integrity To The Process For Adoption Of Curriculum Standards

The Texas Legislature should:

  • Establish
    minimum qualifications for all persons involved in determining the
    substance of the "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" (TEKS). 
  • Remove
    the Board's authority over the development and adoption of the TEKS by
    implementing one of the following three options:

◦ Limit the Board's authority to only those duties required by the Texas Constitution. Create
a new body charged with the development and adoption of the TEKS and
its related concerns including textbook adoption and assessment
standards.


Limit the Board's role to non-substantive matters in the development
and adoption of the TEKS, and their related concerns including textbook
adoption and assessment standards. 


Limit the Board to non-binding recommendations related to the
development and adoption of the TEKS, and its related concerns
including textbook adoption and assessment standards. Persons charged with the substantive development and adoption of the TEKS must retain complete authority over the TEKS.

  • Create
    checks and balances in the appointment process for all persons involved
    in the substantive development and adoption of the TEKS. 
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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