For another indication of just how much the paranoid, right-wing political fringe has become embedded in Texas government, check out what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s “Grassroots Advisory Board” is up to. Today the panel of Tea Party activists released a letter criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott’s plans to expand pre-K programs in the state. Those programs, the advisory board insists, will undermine parental rights and put children into “a Godless environment” that promotes socialism.
Yeah, that’s right. Tea Party activists who advise the Republican lieutenant governor are accusing the Republican governor of trying to lead Texas kids into Godless socialism. This is whack-a-loon territory.
The governor’s plan, outlined in House Bill 4 and Senate Bill 801, call for more funding and better quality standards for pre-K programs that school districts choose to offer. Lt. Gov. Patrick’s Tea Party advisors see the bills as a step toward universal pre-K education for all Texas kids. (TFN takes no position on these bills. Pre-K isn’t one of the issues that we focus on. But we do monitor what the right-wing fringe is up to, and they really don’t like pre-K.)
You can read the full letter from the lieutenant governor’s advisory committee here. Some choice excerpts:
“(W)e are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with a program that removes our young children from homes and half-day religious preschools and mothers’ day out programs to a Godless environment…”
“… Texans are endowed with ‘certain unalienable rights’ which include the rights and duties of parents to rear their children with minimal intrusion from the State. This interference by the State tramples upon our parental rights. The early removal of children from parents’ care is historically promoted in socialistic countries, not free societies which respect parental rights.”
“… We know that one-size does NOT fit all in our school districts, and if these bills become Law, we are going to begin imposing this on even younger and more malleable children. Texas would be sending the message to the rest of the Nation that parents do not or cannot love and care for their children as well as the State can.”
Grab the popcorn, folks. The circus is in town, and the clowns are parading around Ringmaster Dan Patrick.