Texas social studies standards: Beware the ides of January

January 15, 2010

News reports in Texas this morning said that several of the right-wing, gut-education-standards changes proposed to social studies standards had failed in voting on Thursday, January 14.  But, much more was to be done, and the SBOE adjourned early last night to continue voting today.

In a pattern familiar to education advocates in Texas, board member Don McLeroy (R-Pluto) today proposed a long series of amendments, apparently off-the-cuff, but probably written up in earlier strategy sessions.  These last-minute amendments tend to pass having missed any serious scrutiny.

Will he be able to ruin Texas education for the next decade?  I cannot follow the live webcasts; Steve Schafersman is working to stop the amendments, rather than merely blog about them.  We probably won’t know the extent of the damage for weeks.  McLeroy cherishes his role as a Port-au-Prince-style earthquake to Texas education. (Pure coincidence, I’m sure — Ed Brayton summarizes McLeroy’s politics today.)

Watch that space, and other news sources.  I may provide updates here, as I can get information.

Texas Navy supports honest history in Texas schools

January 15, 2010

John Mashey was too shy to raise the question in a thread, but he e-mailed me asking about the witness list for the hearing before the Texas State Board of Education on social studies standards:  “Texas Navy?” he asked.

Two witnesses listed their affiliation as “Texas Navy.” Edwin Greiner and Dick Brown, both admirals in the Texas Navy, were scheduled to testify early on Wednesday afternoon.

Now, a Nebraska or Utah Navy might not make a lot of sense, since both of those states are landlocked.  Texas needed a navy in the past, and at least twice, ships were commissioned and sailed for Texas, in 1835 and 1837.

In 1958, Texas Governor Price Daniel re-activated the Texas Navy with the purpose of “assuring the survival of Texas’ Naval history, boundaries, water resources, and for the civil defense of Texas.”  In 1973, the Texas Legislature authorized the charter of the Texas Navy Association, Inc., as the official body to oversee the operation of the Texas Navy.

Recruiting poster for Texas Navy

Click here to join the Texas Navy

You can join the Texas Navy.  Both the men listed on the witness list claim rank of Admiral, which is not a position one attains merely by joining — so we might conclude they have done something in the past to merit the promotion.

Consider joining.  Your membership will help preserve the history and tradition of the Texas Navy.  And — who knows? — you may want to testify to the Texas State Board of Education some day.  It looks like they’ll bump you to the first of the list, if you’re a member of the Texas Navy.

(Does anyone know what these Texas Navy officials told the SBOE?  Anyone have a copy of their testimony?  I’ll check with Steve Schafersman at Texas Citizens for Science to see if he knows . . .)

Salute Martin Luther King, Jr.: Volunteer

January 15, 2010

Obama’s old campaign organization urges people to get out to do service to their communities this weekend, to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  An e-mail from the campaign urges:

Ed —

Throughout the country, Organizing for America volunteers and staff are planning service events for this Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

It’s a great chance to come together, spend time with friends and neighbors, and help create a more just and equal world as we honor Dr. King this weekend. I hope you can come out and take part in an event near you.

Sign up to participate in a Martin Luther King Jr. service event in your area. No experience is necessary and it’s a great way to give back.

Martin Luther King Jr. gave so much of his talent and energy to his family and community, his neighbors and friends. I hope you will continue in that grand tradition as we honor him this weekend.

Like so many of you did last year, OFA supporters are joining together in communities all across America — in food banks and shelters, in health clinics and nursing homes.

They’re coming together to remember the great legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and to give back to their communities. There are so many different and fun ways to participate in this weekend of service, I hope you find one that means something special to you.

Please sign up to participate in a service event near you:


Thank you for your service,


Jeremy Bird
Deputy Director
Organizing for America

I’ve got school projects and Scout projects already lined up; Monday, I may need something more to do, and something more service oriented.

What sort of service are you planning to celebrate the heritage and history of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

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