Category Archives: Education Law & Policy

Rick Perry and Higher Education

On the newest leading Republican Party candidate for U.S. President, from the Chronicle of Higher Education: … Perry has promoted a conservative ideology in a higher-education policy agenda that emphasizes transparency and accountability and treats colleges like businesses whose customers are students. His associates have been hired for key leadership and advisory positions in the University […]

Defending science, history, etc.: A promising precedent?

It seems to me that the case of David Rudovsky and Leonard Sosnov v. West Publishing Corporation (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 2010), provides an intruiging suggestion for defending genuine science and social studies materials for school curriculum. A December 21 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports the outcome of this case. In […]

Texas bill to politicize curricula

A new bill in the Texas legislature would politicize curricula by reversing legislative action which had previously vested authority over selection of supplementary materials to the Texas Education Agency, removing that authority from the Texas State Board of Education [SBOE].

Kentucky anti-science act

It’s that time of year again, when legislatures throughout these united states are opening new sessions after the elections, and fundamentalist legislators renew their campaigns against teaching science in the public schools. One of the first out of the gate this year is Kentucky, where this “Kentucky Science Education and Intellectual Freedom Act” has been […]

New book on teaching evolution or creationism in US classrooms

This post is simply to call attention to Evolution, Creationism, and the Battle to Control America’s Classrooms, an important new book by Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer. As described at Who should decide what children are taught in school? This question lies at the heart of the evolution-creation wars that have become a regular feature […]

SBOE’s Dunbar @ “liberty”. “edu”, on CBN, etc.

I don’t believe I’ve ever had such an extensive post here devoted as much as this one is to the antics of Cynthia Dunbar. Hence, it’s tempting to use something like “Dumb and Dunbar” as the title of this post. (Is it really possible that nobody has used that title before?) I can’t do that […]

Ravitch: “Just Say No to the Race to the Top”

On a blog at Education Week, Diane Ravitch advises that states should “Just Say No to the Race to the Top.” Ravitch notes: It might better be called the Race to Nowhere, or as some have dubbed it, the Race to the Trough or the Dash to the Cash. She notes the demoralization of teachers […]

Texas SBOE vs. “Capitalism” (with audio)

I’m too busy this week to follow the circus going on now in Austin; I’ll have to catch up later. However, I think I should post some audio (below) to provide background on this business, as reported by TFN Insider: 12:04 – The current standards draft currently refer to the economic system that exists in the […]

Texas Standards and the “Quality Counts” report

Being ignorant is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is nothing to be particularly proud of either. A large and disruptive segment of the Texas State Board of Education is not only ignorant — a state that we all share at various times and on various subjects — it is proudly and aggressively ignorant, […]

Texas Exceptionalism (Texas opts out of common education standards)

Governor Rick Perry announced today that Texas will not submit an application for education funding in the federal government’s “Race to the top” competition. His office issued a press release under the title:  Gov. Perry: Texas Knows Best How to Educate Our Students. Here’s a video clip from his announcement: more about “Office of the […]

SBOE: The Missing Episodes

From what we hear in these proceedings, there could be an SBOE majority, along with the Commissioner, who are open to this kind of politicization of committee membership, not only for TEKS development, but for textbook approval as well. They have the power to do this even thought it’s not really required by the statute (as Ames falsely claims that it is). Still, in case the claim about the statute will not be put to rest by the Board’s TEA lawyer, the sane attorneys Craig and Berlanga must be prepared to request an opinion from the Attorney General, which would decisively shut down this claim by the appointees of Bradley and McLeroy.

Experts, standards, textbooks

It looks to me like they have not actually changed the definition of who is an expert. What they’ve done, rather, is to change it so people don’t need any expertise to be on the textbook review panel. I can see how there could be some rationale for including non-experts in the standards development process, since that can be regarded as a policy-making process, in which it could make some sense to include some political interest representation, along with the expertise. The same rationale would not apply, however, to the review of textbooks. At that point, the policy decisions have been made already. Policy determination is something prior to and separate from textbook review. Textbook review might require different kinds of expertise (expertise in grade-specific pedagogy, for example, as well as expertise in the subject or discipline), but it is not a process calling for further policy-making representation of political, commercial, or industrial interests. Employers might have expertise for judging textbooks and materials for occupational/vocational courses, but not for courses in science, math, history, etc.

TX SBOE not interested in hearing from experts, teachers

Meeting as the Committee of the Full Board Thursday night, November 19, the Texas State Board of Education made it clear that they are not interested in hearing any further from their “experts” or the writing teams of social studies specialists in their revision of social studies standards for the state of Texas. (Click here […]

Mass., Va., etc. “students’ religious freedom” bills

There’s “An Act Relative to Protecting the Religious Freedom of Students” pending in the Massachusetts legislature which, according to Antoinette Pizzi reporting in the Cape Cod Times, “has bipartisan support and is expected to pass favorably through the Joint Committee on Education.” Folks at the National Center for Science Education have taken particular notice of […]

US Educ Sec Arne Duncan on Colbert (Oct 5, 2009)

This weekend I saw Chris Hedges on BookTV’s “AfterWords,” and I thought “this is somebody that I need to see on the Colbert Report.” I decided to do some posting to encourage that encounter (that will be my next post after this one — see the post above this one, or the link with arrow, […]

Louisiana procedures for disputes over anti-science materials in biology classes

WILL SENTELL of the [Baton Rouge] Advocate Capitol News Bureau reports that “Procedure [have now been] crafted for handling evolution-materials complaints“:

NCLB “lying to children and parents” – U.S. Ed Sec Duncan, Sept. 24, 2009

According to an Ed Dept press release: In his speech, Duncan said that the NCLB law has significant flaws and that he looks forward to working with Congress to address the law’s problems. He said the law puts too much emphasis on standardized tests, unfairly labels many schools as failures, and doesn’t account for students’ […]