Earlier this spring teachers serving as members of writing teams working on new social studies curriculum standards were blind-sided when someone leaked an unfinished, preliminary draft of their working document to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). At the public State Board of Education meeting in March, TPPF ripped into these writing teams, claiming that they had “removed or changed important pieces of history and government to reflect an anti-free-market viewpoint.” Several board members joined in the feeding frenzy, slandering the work of these teachers without even bothering to hear their explanation.
TFN was shocked — shocked! — t0 learn who stabbed these teachers in the back by leaking the incomplete standards to a political pressure group. None other than our old friend and embattled board chairman, Don McLeroy.
During the SBOE meeting today, board member Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, asked how this early document — which members of the teacher writing teams clearly thought was confidential — ended up in the hands of TPPF. To his credit, McLeroy stepped forward and admitted that after reading the document, he sent it to TPPF — presumably knowing that the group would go public with its ideological criticisms.
A number of teachers came before the board today to object to the shoddy treatment they recieved, primarily concerned that the board had not even given them a chance to answer the charges against them before airing them in a public hearing.
Dunbar, Leo and McLeroy’s other lackeys on the board came to his defense, claiming there is no explicit rule that prohibited McLeroy from betraying the trust of these teachers. True, said TEA deputy associate commissioner Anita Givens. There is no such rule; it has just just been standard practice to keep drafts in-house until they were finished and ready for public comment. In other words, TEA has never had to make a rule mandating common courtesy and respect for teachers. That is, until now.
Sorry, social studies teachers. But don’t take it personally. The McLeroy board showed the same respect for your colleagues in science and language arts.