Naked City

Protesting SBOE Censorship

Today and Friday, the State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on proposed social studies texts to be approved for use in Texas school districts. On Tuesday, the Texas Freedom Network hosted a press conference and rally on the Capitol steps to publicly deliver thousands of postcards addressed to the board, the Texas Education Agency, textbook publishers, and legislators, calling for an end to what TFN director Samantha Smoot called "textbook censorship ... [and] far-right groups pushing their personal religious and political beliefs into Texas public school classrooms." Several dozen citizens gathered on the steps in support of the TFN.

Smoot denounced editorial changes -- deletion of prehistoric dates, softening criticism of slavery, promotion of Christian beliefs -- already accepted by publishers at the insistence of radical-right groups like the Eagle Forum and the Citizens for a Sound Economy and asked that the board, the TEA, and the Legislature take steps to "change the whole process" of textbook adoption. "We do not live in Tuna, Texas," Smoot said. "The people here today represent the mainstream middle, and they are here to raise of chorus of mainstream voices saying, 'I object to textbook censorship.'"

UT classics professor Andrew Riggsby told reporters that too many Texas students come to college miseducated by "censored and distorted" textbooks, full of inaccurate or incomplete history imposed by the "small group of busybodies" who annually force their personal religious and political beliefs on the SBOE and the publishers. "I teach ancient history, and I can't omit inconvenient or unpleasant facts." What the SBOE allows, said Riggsby, is "not a review," but "vandalism."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Michael King
Can’t Vote by Mail Now? Perhaps November.
Can’t Vote by Mail Now? Perhaps November.
Courts have time – if not the will – to expand VBM before general election

June 30, 2020

Supremes to Texas Voters: Drop Dead
Supreme Court Rejects VBM Stay
U.S. Supreme Court Won't Lift Stay on Vote by Mail

June 26, 2020

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle