Wednesday last week the State Board of Education, the elected officials charged with determining the curriculum standards and textbooks that Texas school children use, held a public hearing. This was the one and only opportunity for parents, community members and concerned citizens will have to make their concerns heard on Social Studies standards for the next 10 years. Texans from all over the state signed up to speak and many travelled hours in order to take the opportunity. Many took the opportunity to urge the board not to use its power to promote a narrow political agenda. Many others claimed the schools were much too liberal and needed to be reined in.
On many previous occasions the board has allowed the hearings to run late into the evening in order for citizens to be heard and Thursday evening debated issues after a dinner break until past 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening though District 5 member Ken Mercer and the rest of the religious conservative bloc voted to end the hearings around 6:00 p.m. thus depriving dozens of citizens the right to be heard by the full board. I think it was incredibly disrespectful and Mr. Mercer should be ashamed.
Fortunately those of us in District 5 will have an opportunity later this year to replace Mr. Mercer with someone else. Hopefully it will be Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau who has made respect for teachers, citizens and potential fellow board members a focal point of her campaign.
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