Trying to clear the fog
Having returned to the real world from a few days’ worth of vacation in San Francisco – still chilly out there, still hilly, still beautiful I am still trying to clear out a bit of the fog. But only a cursory reading of the news clips is enough to find Gov. Perry still dancing around accountability on a number of fronts, including an outrageously dishonest method of inflating school ratings.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s release of a statewide poll by the Texas Freedom Network reaffirms what most of us already knew – the rightwingers on the State Board of Education are embalmed somewhere in a medieval fogbank.
TFN actually released the results from two questions on the survey several weeks ago, when the board was bringing national ridicule to Texas by injecting dubious conservative political opinions into social studies curriculum standards. One shows that 72 percent of likely Texas voters want educators – not the board – deciding what students should be taught. Sharing that view were 84 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of independents.
The other major finding is that 68 percent of the respondents believe separation of church and state is a key legal principle. Remember all the efforts by conservative, selfanointed history “experts” to deny the existence of the separation of church and state? Obviously, most Texans – or at least those responding to the poll had history educations that were sounder than what the state board wants to provide today’s students.
Religion, however, is important to many Texans. Fortynine percent of respondents said religion should have more influence in public schools.
Public school teachers also should be particularly interested in another finding from the survey. Some 55 percent of the respondents oppose spending tax dollars on vouchers that would allow students to attend private and religious schools.
Other findings included:
# 80 percent of respondents agreed that high school sex education classes should teach “about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence.”
# 88 percent thinks public schools should be required “to protect all children from bullying, harassment, and discrimination in school, including the children of gay and lesbian parents or teenagers who are gay.”
The survey of 972 likely voters was conducted May 412, shortly before the state board gave final approval to the new social studies curriculum standards.