Texas Rejects National Assoc. of State School Boards

Education news from Texas, via Agape Press (link added):

The Texas State Board of Education has severed ties with the National Association of State School Boards [NASBE] whose policies, says the Texas group, “continue to gravitate to liberal left.”

According to NASBE’s website:

The National Association of State Boards of Education is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s State Boards of Education. A non-profit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and assure continued citizen support for public education.

NASBE was particularly offensive to Republican board member Terri Leo, who argues that:

NASBE holds to the notion that the phrase “separation of church and state” accurately summarizes the Bill of Rights — even though the phrase does not appear in any founding American document and was used by Thomas Jefferson 11 years after the Bill of Rights was passed. Leo says the Texas Board of Education voted not be associated with an organization that chooses to perpetuate a myth.

Leo does not bother to explain why Jefferson’s interpretation of the Bill of Rights should be seen as so off-base as to constitute a “myth”, and the propagandists at Agape are not about to raise questions that would probably not occur to its credulous target readership. But there are other complaints:

Leo says she and her nine Republican colleagues oppose NASBE’s effort to encourage state boards to implement a bullying policy that has a special victim category for homosexuals.

…Citing a third policy area of disagreement, Leo notes that NASBE supports comprehensive sex education — while state law in Texas advocates abstinence-only sex education. On top of that, she says, “the Republicans on this board and the majority of Texans support” that law.

There is also another area of disagreement, which Agape does not note: Leo is also bitterly opposed to science, for religious and ideological reasons. As PZ Myers at Pharyngula noted a year ago, in a lament over Texas education:

It must be sad and hard to be a textbook in Texas.

Last year, the school board was trying to cut evolution out of them.

The year before, they were removing references to pollution, global warming, and overpopulation.

Oh, and now the phrase “married partners” is not to be used, because it’s too general and could include gay couples.

…There’s a name that keeps coming up in all of these dreary efforts to send Texas spiralling back in time to the Middle Ages, as if it were Bruce Campbell, only without the cool, and this time he’s fighting on the side of the Deadites. The name is Terri Leo.

Around the same time, I noted her dishonest quote-mining of Texas physicist Steven Weinberg in her attempt to have pseudo-scientific “alternatives” to evolutionary biology included in science classes.

Withdrawal from the NASBE is another move in the campaign by the notoriously theocratic Republican Party of Texas to recreate education in its own image; but with the state’s huge textbook market, the damage is likely to spread nationwide.