Monday afternoon Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst performed a feat only politicians seem able to do on a regular basis, at least with a straight face. He denounced politicizing an issue that he was holding a press conference to politicize:
“This issue is about teaching Texas children. I personally have a problem with any effort to politicize this process. It is an affront to these families, and Texas families across the state, and the values we hold dear as Texans.”
Oh please. About the only thing missing from this press conference was a ritual book burning.
Dewhurst was flanked at the press conference by tea party and other political activists — the same ones he and Sen. Dan Patrick have been courting in their coming Republican primary battle. Patrick and Dewhurst have competed in recent months to see which one can pretend to be the most outraged — OUTRAGED! — by classroom lessons written by current and retired Texas teachers (known radicals, of course).
On Monday, Dewhurst repeatedly charged that those CSCOPE lessons are plagued by “errors” and “bias.” He offered zero examples. Do “the values we hold dear as Texans” include promoting unsubstantiated smears and falsehoods to help you win an election?
He and the political activists who followed him to the microphone praised a state district judge who has issued a temporary restraining order against the use of CSCOPE in the Llano Independent School District. Dewhurst, state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, and those political activists declared that using CSCOPE lessons that haven’t been approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) is a violation of a law Toth helped pass in the last session, SB 1406.
Problem: nothing in that law or any other Texas statute requires teachers to use only lesson plans that the SBOE approves. To suggest otherwise reveals either a real ignorance of state law and the SBOE adoption process or a determination to lie to voters.
This press conference was depressing for so many reasons. One reason was that the man occupying the second-highest state office in Texas chose to stand with a gang of political fanatics who have spent months claiming that Texas teachers are writing lessons promoting Marxism and Islam while attacking Christianity and American patriotism. He stood with fanatics who have suggested that nearly 900 public school districts plus charter and Christian schools would actually use such lessons. With fanatics who have thrown respect for “local control” — supposedly a Republican value — out the window. Fanatics who are praising a judge for engaging in a blatant example of judicial activism, the kind of judicial activism they otherwise denounce.
But maybe one of the saddest things about this press conference was the obvious assumption by Dewhurst and the other speakers that Texas voters are so feeble-minded that they’ll believe all that horse manure. Well, we’ll see.
Good lord, I love your writing, Dan!And I love it when republicans eat there own!I’m beginning to think maybe the did walk around with dinosaurs.
An informative and disturbing report. The State of TX must be in sound condition in terms of infrastructure, health care, tax policy, etc. if politicians running for the 2nd highest office in the state can focus on CSCOPE, which someone sitting in a traffic jam in the DFW area or someone with limited income and needing healthcare services has never heard of CSCOPE and not worried about the state’s children becoming indoctrinated with Marxist philosophy, which most Tea Party members can’t describe in any detail.
As much as the Tea Party would love it, the SBOE does not have statutory authority to approve lesson plans. In fact, the opposite is the case. TEC 28.002(i) specifically prohibits the SBOE from adopting rules that “designate the methodology used by a teacher.”
The only thing worse than reading this is watching it happen all around me. What the hell has happened to our Republican Party? Since when does being “conservative” necessarily mean invasive control over local politics and gross perversions of history, science, and truth? Dewhurst & Co. are apparently vetting to join the ranks of those who believe that public education is “the tool of the Devil.”
I’m not sure anymore what ever became of the Left and the Right. We’ve zoomed in on our panoramic view and turned as far right of center as the tripod will allow. What used to be considered common ground for conservative dems and liberal repubs is now dubbed the extremist left, meanwhile the radical right is mainstream GOP. Our two party system basically amounts to the reality-based and those that oppose them.
The “autopsy” report aside, the last thing the republicans reported accurately was their platform: opposed to critical thinking.
What are the chances Dewhurst will follow Perry’s lead and put himself out to pasture sometime soon?
I am SO looking forward to the debate between Patrick and Thomas Ratliff (SBOE) on August 24.
Dan, thanks for staying on top of this.