Texas public schools are in trouble. In 2011, lawmakers decided to slash $5 billion from the state’s education system. That action lead to a lawsuit, and with the matter now before the Texas Supreme Court, it seems the Religious Right senses an opportunity to grab some taxpayer dollars for its system of private Christian academies.
A watchdog group said recently that the Texas State Board of Education has rejected some of the most problematic proposed changes to the state’s public school social studies textbooks, but attempts to force religious ideas into the curriculum remain a serious threat.
The motto of fundamentalists who want to force creationism into public school science textbooks in Texas must be: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again. But it seems they’ll just have to keep on trying because their latest push has run into a roadblock: Textbook publishers refuse to play along.
Americans United has long warned that all sorts of church-state problems can arise when public schools try to teach Bible courses, and now a report by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund (TFN) has confirmed our fears.
The governing board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has just approved a new license plate with three crosses and the words “One State Under God.”
This is the same governing board that had previously approved tags with “God Bless Texas,” “God Bless America” and “One Nation Under God.”
Supporters of the latest religion-themed plate celebrated the board’s decision as a victory for freedom of religion and speech.
Texas’ controversial social studies standards face a final vote this week, and it appears that far-right members of the state Board of Education aren’t done trashing them yet.
Generally, when people ask me about my college experience at American University, I am a pretty proud graduate.
I tell some great stories about my favorite professors. I had the opportunity to take a class on juvenile justice taught by a federal judge, a class on gang violence taught by a state prosecutor, a course on modern feminist history taught by a museum curator and a number of classes on public affairs taught by a renowned constitutional scholar (and former National Advisory Council member of Americans United).
Whenever people ask me for a concrete example of how the Religious Right has affected public policy, I point to the spread of "abstinence-only" sex education. Thanks to pressure from Protestant fundamentalist and traditionalist Roman Catholic groups, federal tax money funds only these programs.
This is the case even though polls show most Americans support comprehensive sex education for young people – programs that stress the value of abstinence but also talk frankly and accurately about ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.