Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Live Blogging of Texas Social Studies Hearings

As usual, the Texas Freedom Network is offering live blogging of the meetings of the Texas State Board of Education. The Board is once again discussing the state social studies standards. It looks like politics as usual.

Here is a taste of what is going on:

11:23 – Kelly Shackelford, head of the Liberty Institute/Free Market Foundation, the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family, is up. Shackelford argues that the words “separation of church and state” aren’t in the Constitution. Neither, we might say, is “fair trial,” “separation of powers” “checks and balances” and other basic constitutional principles. Shackelford thinks “separation of church” is being used to “abuse” the freedom of students. He wants students to contrast the intent of the Founders (or what he believes was the intent of the Founders) who wrote the Constitution with the phrase “separation of church and state.”

11:32 – Board member David Bradley calls separation of church and state a “myth.” He notes that the Ten Commandments adorn federal buildings like the Supreme Court.

11:34 – Shackelford: There are people who want to engage in a “religious cleansing” in this country. He argues that students are being punished for expressing their faith in public schools.

11:37 – Board member Cynthia Dunbar: “tremendous confusion” about how the First Amendment should be implemented in relation to religious freedom. It’s hard to disagree — people like Dunbar and Shackelford have worked hard make it confusing.

11:39 – Board member Barbara Cargill: students used to be taught correctly about the First Amendment’s protection for religious freedom (meaning that they weren’t taught about separation of church and state).

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