School Board Rejects Resolution to “Condemn” Texas State Board of Education

The Aransas County Independent School  District (ACISD) Board (Rockport/Fulton, Texas) voted last week on a resolution to send to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) convention, which supported a State Board of Education curriculum standards review and adoption process that is free of democrat or republican ideology. 

I wonder how this resolution will sit with the State Board of Education member from this district, Mary Helen Berlanga, when she sees that a school board in her district wants decisions free of democrat (and republican) ideology. 

The real story, though, is the three resolutions the ACISD Board chose not to adopt.  Steve Fischer, one of the ACISD board members, desperately pushed for three separate resolutions attacking the Texas State Board of Education.  One particular resolution by Steve Fischer “strongly condemns the Texas Board of Education for injecting politics, liberal or conservative, into curriculum or textbook selection.”   The ACISD board rejected this language and opted for the language above.

Steve Fischer’s crusade was evidence of the pot calling the kettle black.  He complained that “politics” were to blame for the social studies standards controversy. 

But, Mr. Fischer is being political himself by criticizing curriculum standards that have not even been released in final form to the public, while alleging politics played a part in such SBOE decisions. I would be shocked if Mr. Fischer has read any of the drafts of social standards, whether final or preliminary.

Steve Fischer’s efforts to attack the Texas SBOE were based on incorrect facts and on some “Boston” article he read.  I don’t think anyone in Texas really cares about what someone in Massachusetts (or New York for that matter) thinks about our state decisions on education.  Steve Fischer admitted to me in person that he did not attend any of the Texas SBOE meetings or hearings.  He surely had not read the final social studies standards adopted in May by the SBOE because the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has not completed its official draft.  That comes this Friday.

ACISD Board member Steve Fischer falsely claimed that Texas SBOE member Don McLeroy believes that Thomas Jefferson should  not be studied in History.  Wow, this could not be more false, incorrect, untrue, and so on.  This is why I drove down to Rockport on short notice on Thursday, to set the record straight on this issue and prevent this bad information from being used to sway the other officials on the ACISD Board and at the TASB convention.

We were successful.  A flat/shredded tire south of San Antonio did delay my timing, but I was able to forward our information and other vital details ahead of time to one board member, Sara Walvoord, and present testimony sometime around 10 p.m. 

Ms. Walvoord helped craft alternative language than what Mr. Fischer proposed, and the other two resolutions by Fischer were not acted on by the ACISD Board, so they basically died on the table.

When I was finally able to address the ACISD board, member Steve Fischer spent more time attacking me than addressing the facts.  And that’s what we did, we stated and presented the facts on the social studies issue.  Mr. Fischer was very defensive (and maybe a little intimidated?) as it was very important to him to let me know that he was a lawyer too and he has taught law at some UT system undergraduate school, but not a law school.  He apparently was annoyed that another attorney was in the room.  You’ll see here in this article he comments on me again, still making personal attacks on me because he can’t deal with the facts.  I made my legal background very clear regarding my actual practice of constitutional law and our organization’s substantial, everyday work in these areas. 

 Mr. Fischer should ask the nearby City of Sinton what they think of the legal ability of Liberty Institute, after they lost a major case to us at the Texas Supreme Court recently, dealing with religious liberty.  I worked on that case.

Typical weak tactic, though-attack the person when you can’t deal with the facts.  The facts speak for themselves. 

In an article by KII TV3, Mr. Fischer, when talking about the social studies issue says: “I am embarrassed.” 

Steve Fischer should be embarrassed, but for his own actions, not the Texas SBOE.  He should be thankful the Texas SBOE protected Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, the Liberty Bell, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Mother Teresa, religious freedom and heritage, and much more when some teachers and professors wanted to cast one or all of these aside.

We released the following statement after the ACISD board meeting: 

“Mr. Fischer is being political himself by criticizing curriculum standards that have not even been released in final form to the public, while alleging politics played a part in such SBOE decisions. I would be shocked if Mr. Fischer has read any of the drafts of social standards. I bet he has no idea that Sonia Sotomayor and Sandra Day O’connor are in the standards, that Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, and Dolores Huerta, an admitted socialist, are all covered in the standards.  Doesn’t sound like a “conservative only” document to me. He’s probably relying on media reports, which have been largely inaccurate and false, to draw such conclusions. His premature and knee-jerk reaction is not helpful to our school students and teachers and I am glad the other board members rose above this”, said Jonathan saenz, a constitutional attorney who participated in all 5 SBOE hearing on this issue in Austin and appeared at the ACISD meeting tonight.

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