Liberty Institute Discusses Texas Social Studies at Jewish Community Center

Last night, I, Jonathan Saenz, was honored to be invited to be a panelist at the Dell Jewish Community Center in North West Austin. 

By the way, Michael Dell is included in the Social Standards.  Admit it, you haven’t read that anywhere else but this blog.

I must say, this is a beautiful facility and made up of several buildings with different uses and function.  I am glad to see religious liberty alive and well in Austin.

Also on the panel were Abby Rappaport of the Texas Tribune blog/online new source, and Kathy Miller, of the liberal group, Texas Freedom Network.

Jonathan Saenz of Liberty Institute at Jewish Community Center Texas Social Studies Discussion

It was a very interesting debate and discussion.  We were excited to hand out our Just State The Facts ( ) document to the 30-40 people who attended.  I think as more people actually see the real facts of the contents of the Texas social studies standards, they will grow in their confidence of the strength of such standards.

In regards to this event being at the Jewish Community Center, it relevant to note that adopted Texas Social Studies standards cover: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur,  Jonas Salk, Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, and many sections discuss the Holocaust.

Saved from elimination were Jonas Salk, who created the polio vaccine; Albert Einstein, and Rosh Hashanah.  An unelected review committee, made up of a small group of teachers, recommended eliminating  these people and this significant Jewish religious observance.   Thankfully, the elected members of the State Board of Education rejected these recommendations by these certain teachers, and voted to keep these important people and event in the Texas Social Studies standards.

It is worth noting that during the discussion last night, Kathy Miller seemed very excited to make a reference to Neil Armstrong being recommended for removal by one expert reviewer, Peter Marshall, who it seems Miller believes is a conservative. 

That may be true, but Professor Jesus de la Teja, another expert reviewer also recommended eliminating Neil Armstrong from the social studies standards as well.  De la Teja was nominated by Democrats on the State Board of Education.    I am not sure the point that she was trying to make, with mentioning Marshall’s push to remove Armstrong, but not telling the rest of the story, that De la Teja also suggested removing Armstrong.  So two “experts” wanted Armstrong out, and not one.

Our point was, aren’t we glad the State Board of Education didn’t side with some of the “experts” on this issue?

Abby Rappaport, the moderator was fair, I must say.  Kathy Miller didn’t seem to like this fairness as she debated and argued with Abby a few times when Abby’s view of certain issues didn’t quite line up with Kathy’s.

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