FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2010
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AUSTIN — After a series of news stories, some of which attracted national attention, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa announced plans to introduce a bill next session to abolish the State Board of Education (SBOE). The frenzy of commentary railing against the SBOE's actions on developing curriculum for Texas public schools focused on cultural biases exhibited by the board.
In framing curriculum guidelines, the SBOE appears to be shaping an extreme, if not myopic, view of social studies material to be used in Texas schools. The board voted to limit or outright exclude mention of central figures in U.S., Texas and world history, including Thomas Jefferson, former Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, and important figures in the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s.
Giving the public time to process the initial outburst against the SBOE's actions, Senator Hinojosa revealed his intentions to modify how Texas sets curriculum guidelines.
"For years, a faction within the SBOE has moved farther to the fringes, determined to wage a type of cultural war. Their methods consist of manipulating public school curriculums by controlling what is taught based on personal ideological agendas. In one breath, this faction will speak of a need to return to a more fundamental understanding of freedoms based in, say, the Declaration of Independence. Then, they work to revise Thomas Jefferson's views on separation of church and state. The SBOE lacks a coherent mission aside from promoting a radical cultural view at the expense of public school children," Hinojosa said.
The SBOE plays a huge role in shaping curriculum framework used by textbook publishers. Based on the SBOE's input, publishers prepare books that are later sold to Texas public schools. Because of Texas' size, Texas SBOE feedback leaves a large imprint on the national textbook market.