Not Quite by the Book
Follow the Money No. 1: The mostly far-right board members received guidance in this pseudo-research from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a San Antonio-based think tank that owes its existence to corporate money and especially the largesse of right-wing fundamentalist James Leininger. (Conservative political candidates, including SBOE members, can count on large amounts of Leininger campaign dollars.) The TPPF is loudly patting its own back for having forced publishers whose books it didn't reject outright to kowtow to its politically motivated "corrections." According to the watchdogs at the Texas Freedom Network, one textbook was accepted after publishers agreed to delete a "Think About It" section designed to generate students' own ideas on environmental science. For the TPPF, thinking is definitely a no-no in Texas schools.
Follow the Money No. 2: Although the textbook follies have garnered most of the headlines, what may derail the board are several ongoing investigations into its investment activities. Recently, documents have surfaced suggesting collusion between current and former board members and private investment counselors over the management of the Permanent School Fund (as mandated by the state constitution). As reported by Maeve Reston in the Nov. 2 Austin American-Statesman, the Travis County D.A.'s office and legislative committees are closely examining relationships between board members and the investment consulting firm Collaborative LLC, which may have tried to parlay insider relationships with board members into outside investment contracts.
Call it just another textbook case of free enterprise in action.