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“Effort To Dilute the Power of Conservatives on Tex. State Bd. of Education”
by Donna Garner
I believe if the Texas Legislature ever “opens up” the subject of increasing the number of Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) districts, it won’t just be the Texas Panhandle that will be geographically divided. (Please see link to the 1.12.12 article in the Amarillo Globe-News posted at the end of this e-mail.)
If more SBOE districts are created, then this will mean an even better chance for the left-leaning Republicans and the Democrats in the Texas Legislature to divide up SBOE districts so that conservative influence will be marginalized.
This whole idea floated by Tex. Rep. Joe Straus and Sen. Kel Seliger is meant to dilute the power and influence of the individual conservative SBOE members and to make the Board dysfunctional by moving the Board from 15 members to possibly as many as 37.
The larger the Board, the more unwieldy it will become. This will serve to reduce its effectiveness and to hurt the conservative members’ influence over curriculum, education policies, and, in particular, the huge “pot of gold” – the Permanent School Fund.
The PSF was created many years ago to preserve money to provide free textbooks for Texas public school children, and it is the SBOE that has the fiduciary responsibility over the PSF. The Texas Legislature has always wanted to get its hands on this multi-billion dollar fund.
On Oct. 20, 2011, Texas Speaker Joe Straus gave out the charges for the Interim Committees. One of the charges for the House Redistricting Committee is to “study State Board of Education districts to determine whether the size of the districts inhibits the ability of board members to provide representation to their constituents and whether a change to the number of districts or the makeup of the board would enhance the ability of the board to perform its duties.” (http://www.house.state.tx.us/_media/pdf/interim-charges-82nd.pdf )
Remember that it was Thomas Ratliff and Bob Craig who led out on the efforts to raid the PSF back in April 2011. With the help of Texas Freedom Network, the “raiders” managed to mount showy press coverage. These are the SBOE “raiders” -- Bob Craig, Mavis Knight, Patricia Hardy, George Clayton, Marsha Farney, Thomas Ratliff, Lawrence Allen, Michael Soto, and Mary Helen Berlanga.
Because the raid was not an SBOE agenda item, the proposal went down in defeat. These were the SBOE members who voted not to raid the PSF: David Bradley, Ken Mercer, Gail Lowe, Terri Leo, Barbara Cargill, Charlie Garza.
This whole idea to diminish the power of the elected SBOE was clearly stated by Rep. Joe Straus on 3.27.09, “Straus: Look at Changing State School Board Elections -- Maybe More” --http://startelegram.typepad.com/politex/2009/03/straus-look-at-chan...
Bottomline: Speaker Joe Straus, Sen. Kel Seliger, other left-leaning Republicans, Texas Freedom Network, and the Democrats all dislike the elected, conservative SBOE members; and creating more SBOE districts is an attempt to dilute the influence and power of the conservative SBOE members.
It is the conservatives on the SBOE who have led the way to adopting the best curriculum standards in the entire United States. Our English, Science, and Social Studies TEKS (Math coming soon) are leading our Texas public schools into authentic education reform.
To learn more about the PSF and the SBOE, please go to “A $3 Billion Gift for the Children of Texas!” written on 1.13.11 by SBOE Member Ken Mercer: http://www.texasinsider.org/?p=40597
Please read my article published on 7.20.11 entitled “Texas Freedom Network Trying To Stir up Trouble” --http://www.voicesempower.com/texas-freedom-network-trying-to-stir-u...
To read the 1.12.12 Amarillo Globe-News article, please go to – “Redistricting Committee Could Increase Number of Education Districts” --http://pushjunction.com/l/BQo