Live Blogging from Texas Social Studies/History Hearing

May 19, 2010
Topic: SBOE , Update

Kelly Shackelford, First Amendment Expert, Testifying about "separation of church and state"

11:05 p.m., just finished testifying.  Reported number of people signing our petition at www.stoprewritinghistory.com

SBOE member Mavis Knight seemed concerned because we received thousands of signatures on petitions, because she implied that we may have or could have “skewed” the results.   I take that as an indication that our petition drive is having the effect that it should.

9:48 p.m. ACLU, Terri Burke, testifying.  Specific interpretation of history.  Downplay Vietnam war, empahizes Richard Nixon.

Terrorism, Islam.

No testimony on the ACLU’s previous allegation that standards are “sectarian”?  Maybe Kelly Shackelford’s excellent testimony made them rethink their strategy on that issue.

8:54 p.m.  BIG APOLOGY!! Due the huge turnout of the State Board of Education hearing, our press conference at 12:30 p.m. and numerous demands for interviews (we were LIVE on CNN) and assistance to other testifiers, it was nearly impossible to continue live blogging all day.

However, HUGE THANKS to our intern, Emily Ball, who is doing an excellent job of helping us “chronicle” all the testimony, as I simply could not be in three places at once.

We’ll post summaries and some details of the testimony, later this week.

Summary:  Numerous professors, teachers and parents are asking that the social studies standards to be PASSED! 

9:18 a.m.  Pastor Stephen Broden testifying.   Supporting history and social studies standards that reflect and support Judeo Christian heritage. 

9:26 a.m. Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education.  Have allowed ideology to drive debate one way and then the other.  Narrow that swing of ideology.   Too much detail in standards.

In general, take another look at the history of slavery and civil rights movement is portrayed.

SBOE Berlanga says hispanic civil rights not covered in standards.

Wrestling with fairness, i applaud that.   But history is what it is, fair or not fair.  Good Point!!

Question: Do you have any specific recommendations to address your concern?  Answer: No

Can you tell us where there is not an accurate description of history, as you claim?

9:46 a.m. State Representative Dan Flynn, speaking about letter with  House member signatures.

Chairman Rob Eissler-standards have balanced approach, solid understanding, accurate about religious heritage.

Mavis Knight-we don’t have enough good teachers. Ouch.

SBOE member Cargill says Chicano civil rights movement is covered in U.S. History. Click here. HS_TEKS_1stRdg  Page 7 of the pdf document.

Rep. Dan Flynn, Rep. Wayne Christian, still getting asked questions.  A few Democrat SBOE members are asking questions about minorities.  Suggesting that minorities are not covered fairly.

Professor Ron Wetherington testifying, has his hands full trying to debate Cynthia Dunbar about the Thomas Jefferson/Enlightenment issue.

I “found” Thomas Jefferson in Grade 5, page 35, identified as a “Founding Father and Patriot her(o)…Thomas Jefferson..”. click here to see. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/social/ELEM_TEKS_1stRdg.pdf 

I “found” Thomas Jefferson in Grade 8, page 23, for “significant individuals that played a role in the American Revolution…..Thomas Jefferson…” http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/social/MS_TEKS_1stRdg.pdf 

Bill White keeps trying to say that Jefferson’s political philosophies aren’t covered.  Not true. I “found” Thomas Jefferson in U.S. Government, page 40 (twice) “the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including…Thomas Jefferson…”. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/social/HS_TEKS_1stRdg.pdfThomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence.  The Declaration of Independence is referenced at least 26 times throughout the K-12 Social Studies standards.Page numbers based on pdf page.

Elementary school- p. 18,21,25,30,33,34,38,39Middle School-p. 3,12,21,22 (twice),27High School-p. 3,16,24,30,39,41,47,54,62,65,71Bill White and others have attacked the removal of “Enlightenment” from one section of World History.  The Enlightenment is still covered in four different sections in high school social studies, pp. 17,20,24,39 (based on pdf page, not documents page). http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/social/HS_TEKS_1stRdg.pdf  Others keep saying, “listen to the experts”.  See two articles linked here by university professors, here in Texas.  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/7004327.html

10:46 a.m.  Professor Daniel Bonevac, Ph.D., the standards are good pedagogy.  Bonevac he has been teaching Western Civiliation for thirty years.  He wants standards voted on, completed.  Says standards have good balance.

Talking about Blackstone, he’s the common authority of law.

At UT,  50 professors are Democrat, only 1 Republican.

SBOE Cargill pointing out that World History standards only have 46 specific names.  However, some World History textbooks have 500+ names, another has over 900+ names.

10:56 a.m.  Benjamin Jealous, or NAACP speaking.  Says standards are going to affect students performing on national exams, ACT/SAT exams.  Criticism, but doesn’t have a specific reference about slavery being removed.

SBOE Member Ken Mercer states that ACT and SAT does not test about social studies.  SBOE member Mavis Knight now says that the issue of slavery is in Eighth grade, but this section doesn’t show that slavery is removed.  Slavery is covered in eight grade, section 12(B), just reworded.  Slavery is covered in many other sections.

SBOE Mercer is going through a list of civil rights cases that our listed in the standards.

11:23 a.m.  Kelly Shakcelford, President and Chief Counsel of Liberty  Institute. 

Taking up issue of separation of church and state.  The U.S. Supreme Court has said this about the phrase “separation of church and state”  a phrase that is “useless” and “not helpful.”

Talking about Mojave Desert Cross case, which the ACLU has aided the lawsuit to tear down this war memorial, the Mojave Desert Cross.

Talking about how in U.S. Supreme Court, the Ten Commandments are shown over 30 times.

Ten Commandments widely accepted as a source of law.

Texas Ten Commandments case.

Some people want to engage in a religious clensing, bulldozing, and sandblasting of of religious symbols, lke crosses and Star of David.

When children are honest about their faith in schools, often times they are punished.

SBOE David Bradley to Kelly-see separation of church groups are here, close to seven, and then you/your group Liberty Institute. I say seven to one, the odds are even.

Separation of church and state-leads to using the term and misunderstanding of the concept and it is used a weapon against people.

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