Turn Texas Universities over to the SBOE?!?!

It’s bad enough that politicians on the Texas State Board of Education have decided that promoting their own personal agendas is more important than the education of millions of children in public schools. Now a member of the Texas House of Representatives wants to give oversight of the state’s college and universities to the SBOE!

State Rep. Fred Brown, R-College Station, wants to abolish the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. His plan would turn higher education over to the Texas Education Agency and the SBOE.

As originally filed earlier this month, Brown’s House Bill 104 actually would have stripped the SBOE of much of its authority over textbooks and, to an extent, curriculum. But now Brown is saying that was a mistake and that he intends only to abolish the Coordinating Board. He wants to change the bill to protect the SBOE’s current authority and let that heavily politicized panel oversee colleges and universities, too.

Good grief. The SBOE has already passed retro science and social studies curriculum standards that turn the clock back more than a century for K-12 education. And the same board turns nearly every textbook adoption and curriculum issue into a divisive and embarrassing “culture war” battle. Now Brown wants to give SBOE members the opportunity to wreck higher education, too? Simply put, that would be a clear example of legislative malpractice.

Br0wn says abolishing the Coordinating Board would save money in tough budgetary times. Yet the Coordinating Board’s administrative budget is tiny compared to the budget deficit lawmakers face in January.

Keep in mind something else: while the SBOE has been undermining science education in elementary and high schools, the Coordinating Board has been protecting it at the college level. In 2008 the Coordinating Board wisely rejected an application from the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) to offer master’s degrees in science education in Texas. If that decision had been up to the politicians who sit on the SBOE, today the state would recognize master’s degrees based on the ICR’s junk science — junk science that says dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans just a few thousand years ago. Even worse, the ICR’s “graduates” would be trying to use those junk science degrees to teach in elementary and high schools!

If lawmakers want to save money by abolishing the Coordinating Board and putting elementary, high school and higher education under one umbrella, maybe that’s worth a discussion. Perhaps tough times like these require tough choices like that. We would like, at a minimum, to hear from education experts about the wisdom of such an approach. But giving a deeply dysfunctional and heavily politicized SBOE any additional oversight — especially over colleges and universities — is playing with fire and should be flatly rejected. Then we can work on keeping Texas education from being a punch line in a national joke.

This article was posted in these categories: education, evolution, Institute for Creation Research, State Board of Education, Texas Legislature. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a Comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


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18 Comments

  1. Posted November 30, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    When you have nothing constructive to say, make a personal attack in which one makes a virtue of bigotry, arrogance, and stubborn attachment to glittering generalities of no certain definition. This is the most favorite propaganda gimmick in vogue across the political spectrum leaving any modicm of political debate a shouting match.

    While Italian Fascism and German Nazism were designed to replace established religions by hijacking a lot of pomp, circumstance, and rhetoric from Catholicism, the Spanish Nationalists were super-Catholics. All three are called “Fascists” by those who call themselves Left, or Progressive, et al in particularly those who lean towards a theoretical state capitalist system in which all capital is owned by the “state” and managed by the Left people. This was called the Corporative State by Mussolini, and National Socialism by Hitler.

    WW2 and the Cold War are over. Perhaps it is time to reexamine the epithets and curses devised during those times as for objectivity and relevance to today’s world.

  2. Donald
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    If volume means anything I think Gordon won this round..I say think becoause I dozed off somewhere through your bull sh.t commentary which was designed to show off your brillance. Well professor, you dont have to accept my term and I dont have to wade through any more of your attempted belligerent putdown. Religiofascists as a term was used decriptively in relation to the voting bloc of the SBOE and does not imply that it couples religion to fascism. I think this semantic danceing is a waste of time; the real issue is who should be in charge of public school’s curricula including the college level influences and can anything be done about it.

  3. Posted November 29, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Donald, and all, I am not in this blog to win any points, but to make them. While I like to create new words to add spice and punch to what might be otherwise tepid, so I do not condemn the use of anyone elses inventions, like “religiofascist” which suggests that religion is inherently married to fascism.

    The Stalinist fetish with the terms “fascist” and “fascism” was due to his failure to bring Italy into the Comintern. Mussolilni’s Fascist party won out early in the husitings over who would get teh veteran and dispossessed vote in the post war chaos of Italy. Both Fascism and Communism at that time were fervently against religion, particularly the Catholics. In 1921 Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty which gave the Papacy a separate state that would not interfere with Italian affairs and be free of Fascist harassment. Hitler signed a Concordat in 1933 with the Papacy for similiar reasons.

    The Nazi belief structure was superficially related to Italian Fascism, like adapting the Roman salute, but totally anti-Semitic unlike the Fascists in Italy or the Nationalists in Span who were also called “fascit”. The Nationalist had a fascist component, the Falange, but he majority of the Naitonalist cause was fervent Catholocism, the Calistas being more Caholic than the Pope. Only in Spain can one call the Nationalist element a Right Wing organization as they were firmly based ont eh landed aristocracy, the army, and the church. Those latter social elements were despised in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

    Therefore the term “religiofascist” has no historic bases in any brand of those who adopted the Roman salute, but is tied to those whose counterpart salute was the raised clenched fist popular in the various factions of Masxism, including Stalin’s Comintern. It wasn’t until the Germans innvaded Mother Russian that the vestiges of Russian historical culture, traditions, and religion were allowsed to exists as windown dressing.

    Stalin was particularly put out with Mussolini as he had been a former member of the WW1 Socialist activist movement. Hitler also started in a startup leftwing “Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party” aka Nazi aka NSDAP. Josef Goebbels greatest victory was the conversion of the Communist Red Front in Berlin to membership in the Nazi “Storm Troopers”. tje SA/ Thereafter, the Nazi SA were called ‘Beef Steak Nazis”: Brown on the outside, Red on the inside.

    The fervent association by many on the right that associates Tea Party educational values as inferor educationally or scientifically in some way from Progressive educational values is just another brand of propaganda. The essential difference between Tea Party propaganda and Progressive propaganda is the the latter distorts data while the former invents what numbers or facts their argument needs.

    Under the present regime in place in most states, the ridiculous left is protected but the ridiculous right is proscribed. One does not have true freedom of expression unless the ridiculous can have free access to institutions of higher learning.

  4. Donald
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Gordon, You’re not going to win any points with this ridiculous ideology in front of this group of SBOE despisers. Responding to the crux of the Insider article, there is a diminishing perceived need or even a desire to have such a religiofascist agency controlling public educational curriculla. It was never the intention for this elected group to decide on their own whether accepted science is right or wrong, or whether there should be a separation between chuch and state, or whether sex education should consist of just saying no like most of the clerics want us to do. The control of this Board, just like the Republican party, has fallen in the hands of those promoting the religofascism of the very far right and as long as their ability to act in behalf of children being educated is so compromised, they cant be trusted for a rational decision on much of any issue. We can only hope that the combination of legislative oversight and the newly elected mambers will change the mix and overturn the grip of the previous group.

    As far as university level influence, I raise my hand; there was only one prof who was an admitted socialist and he was willing to talk to groups after hours which seemed real daring to me to be speaking against capitalilism. However, I’m glad we had other profs who could neurtralize his influence. You cant keep kids from hearing about alternative ideas and philosophies even if you don’t approve. I know a little about this issue from my 7 kids, 6 of which went to college and 3 of those got advanced degrees.

  5. Clay
    Posted November 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s bad enough my hometown has a creation “evidence” museum, as well as finding out the other day that my cousin is a biblical literalist. Do we really want this happening here? Damn it I hadn’t even had the chance to finish college myself and if this goes through I wont be able to get a job! EVER!

  6. Cytocop CT(ASCP)
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Consider both my hands raised. Despite my alleged “Marxist-Leninist” education, I’m doing pretty well, despite current economics – which, I may add, was lavishly brought to us by the free-marketeers. I single-handedly (literally) maintain a home, a car, a full-time professional job, and the very luxurious hobby of painting despite a worthless “Marxist-Leninist” education.

    I see someone above is still quite bitter about whatever his experiences were and taking out his frustrations on past professors and institutions. That’s too bad. I didn’t always get along with my instructors either, whether the friction had anything to do with economics or politics or not. But, at nearly 60 yrs of age, I’ve put my far past behind me. In my worthless opinion, I think it’s rather silly not to just move on from whatever one’s negative university experience was. Live for today and tomorrow, not for yesterday.

  7. Posted November 18, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    “When tyrants try to shut down educational systems they always use fear and generalizations to prevent free speech and free thought. We should all be very afraid for the future of our democratic system of government.”

    Ahah! Using generalizations and fear is tyranny, but only when free speech and thought are prevented. So using generalizations and fear should be banned to protect free speech and thought? How thoughtful.

    But, besides the difference between free speech/thought that is tyrannical and that which is not, personal insult in lieu of thought is empty and thoughtless.

  8. cathyd
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The SBOE does not need another ounce of power or control over anything. One of the ring leaders of the social conservative block, David Bradley, does not even have a degree….so can you tell me what is wrong with that picture? As far as this Marxist- Lennonist crap–that is exactly what it is. When tyrants try to shut down educational systems they always use fear and generalizations to prevent free speech and free thought. We should all be very afraid for the future of our democratic system of government.

  9. Posted November 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Raises hand.

  10. GeekGoddess
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    *raises hand*

    I went to Texas Tech, a cow college if there ever was one

  11. Coragyps
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Gordon, whatever it is that you are smoking must have been sprayed with bad herbicide. Try something different.

  12. Ben
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Gordon, you are moving the goalposts.

    Claim #1 was:

    “It is virtually impossible for a student in college to avoid Marxist-Leninism as a basic ingredient in all subjects outside the hard sciences.”

    Claim #2 was:

    “As for those who say they never knew a Marxist Leninist professor in academia, must have been asleep, or so steeped in Red BS as not to know any difference.”

    I never said I didn’t know a Marxist Leninist professor. Maybe I did. If I did, they sure didn’t insert their ideology into the course as a basic ingredient. I knew some liberal professors. I knew some conservative professors. But most of my professors kept their leanings to themselves.

    As for saying I might’ve been “so steeped in Red BS as not to know the difference,” perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe you can’t tell the difference between communism and liberalism.

  13. Posted November 18, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    A wing nut has two opposing lugs, one on the left, the other on the right.

    It seems appropriate to use a few righ wingnuts to offset the left wingnuts. For example those who seem to have missed about fifty years of the Cold War in which rich kids worked out anger issues with thier parents manifested in political polemics, demonstrations, riots, arson, and murder aimed at the protection of Soviet ambitions, and the denigration of opposition against those ambitions.

    Reagan characterised Communism as a mask for Russian imperialism, which we can see contining today less the Communist mask. The KGB is not longer Soviet, but no less a Russian as before. Russian ambitions continue to be represented by those who call themselves the American Left, or Progressive, or even Socialist. The irony of the continued support of Russia is that Russia is no longer Communist (if it ever was really), and instead is a rising kleptocracy.

    As for those who say they never knew a Marxist Leninist professor in academia, must have been asleep, or so steeped in Red BS as not to know any difference.

    The saving grace for those Russophiles is that their actions are no longer treasonous, but should be registered with the government as agents of a foreign power (Russia). That is considerably more generous than the demands of the new Congress to have all Muslims register as foreign agents of Islam. Cardinal Richelieu stated that treason is but a matter of dates, but lesser charges may apply for failure to register.

    Russian security has alway relied heavily on establishing agent networks, some deep, and some wearing the mask of the super-patriot. While the Tea Party has many crack pots, some of them aren’t actially cracked, but clever.

    After all, Palin can see Russia from Alaska.

  14. Charles
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Mine is raised.

    I didn’t have any Marxist-Leninist professors in undergraduate or graduate school. I had a number of frequently drunk free enterprise professors who probably wished they had not become professors so they could make more money, drive nicer cars, live in nicer houses, etc. Personally, based on my own experience and Ben’s, I think the reality is that these wingnuts see one or two nutty professors (who get press coverage) on a few campuses, and they blow it up into some huge, mythical national conspiracy involving nearly all college professors.

  15. Ben
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    “It is virtually impossible for a student in college to avoid Marxist-Leninism as a basic ingredient in all subjects outside the hard sciences.”

    Everyone who made it through college and avoided Marxist-Leninism as a basic ingredient in all subjects outside the hard sciences, raise your hand.

    (My hand is currently raised.)

  16. Posted November 17, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Actually it’s not a bad idea. Texas Universities, like most in the US, have been jam packed with the FOS (Friends of Stalin) since the purges of the Thirties. It is virtually impossible for a student in college to avoid Marxist-Leninism as a basic ingredient in all subjects outside the hard sciences. Quite apart from the knee jerk anti-Comminism of the Divine Right, Marxist-Leninism (Communism) is a totally failed experiment which is dead in any sense of the world anywhere in the world except on campus.

    While there is little lilkelihood of the Divine Right getting Creationism into the curriculum, it would be fun to watch the roaches scurry for cover.

    It would be wisest to stard with the first two years of college as the upper divison students are either terminally infected or already immune to Marxist claptrap. And we don’t want to scare off the foreign students who carry the financial burden of upper division and graduate tuition.

  17. Jay Lee
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    The purpose of tenure for university professors is popularly portrayed as nothing more than job security for underachieving educators. No opportunity is ever missed wtih an anecdotal story of the abuse of tenure.

    However, this article reveals the importance and purpose of tenure and academic freedom in protecting the integrity of the educational institution. Any move or serious effort in this direction as little chance of succeeding because of tenure.

  18. Doc Bill
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Ha! Can you imagine how the SBOE would have treated the insane, medieval, creationist, anti-science, overtly religious Institute for Freaking Creationist Research?

    “Well, yes, grant a masters! Grant a PhD! In fact we’ll help you find jobs for your students in public schools throughout Texas!” PTL.

    Yeah, this is a brilliant idea. R-College Station. Cue Aggie joke in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …

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