That seems to be the message from Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, to state legislators this week. Of course, we haven’t seen the communications between Lowe and representatives of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), which is sponsoring a public hearing on Wednesday to learn more about the state board’s revision of social studies curriculum standards. But as a press release from MALC today points out, it’s not every day that a group of legislators gets turned down on a request for information from other state officials.
In the press release, MALC’s chairman, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, noted that Lowe had turned down the invitation to speak to lawmakers about the growing controversy surrounding the board’s work. MALC had offered to reimburse Lowe for the cost of her travel, but that didn’t seem to make a difference, Rep. Martinez Fischer said:
“To be turned down by Chairwoman Lowe is surprising and disappointing. I urge her to realize that over fifty members of the legislature are requesting her attendance at this very important hearing. We all have hectic lives and busy schedules, but she needs to make the time. “
Representatives from the Legislative Study Group, Texas Legislative Black Caucus and Senate Hispanic Caucus are joining MALC at the hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. on Wednesday (Capitol Extension E2.012). But it appears that Lowe and other board members can’t be bothered to defend the way they have vandalized the work of educators, academics and others in crafting new curriculum standards.
On the other hand, lawmakers are set to hear from officials at the Texas Education Agency and representatives from the Texas State Teachers Association, the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, LULAC, the Texas Freedom Network, and the Texas Council for History Education. About a dozen university professors from around the state are also scheduled to speak.
Wednesday’s hearing, by the way, isn’t the only public event planned between now and the May 19-21 state board meeting to focus public attention on the way board members are politicizing public school classrooms. Here are a few others:
- Representatives of Defend the Honor, the American GI Forum, the National Hispanic Institute, the Texas Freedom Network, Tejanos en Accion and other organizations as well as university professors will speak at a “teach-in” about the revision of social studies standards on Sunday, May 2, in Austin. The event runs from 2 to 4 p.m. on the front steps of the Texas Capitol. More information is available at defendthehonor@ gmail.com.
- American Atheists and the Atheist Community of Austin are planning a public rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol at 11 a.m. on May 16. Rally organizers say their focus is to support church/state separation as well as curriculum standards that are fair and reasoned.
- The Texas Freedom Network is planning a rally outside the Texas Education Agency building at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19. That day the State Board of Education is expected to hold its final public hearing on the proposed new social studies curriculum standards. Come join other concerned Texans call for curriculum standards that are based on sound scholarship, not the personal and political agendas of board members.