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Republicans everywhere have been running away from debates, coming up with one excuse after another. Now Debate Anxiety has spread to the Texas Republican State Board of Education candidates as well.The Texas GOP claimed the League of Women Voters wouldn’t run a fair debate because LWV organizers had voted Democratic in the past. Now they are dodging a debate hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens. Republicans are running away from any forum where they might face difficult questions.  Anyone who doesn’t have the courage to face voters and their own record must be running scared.  

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Netroots Nation featured an amazing group of speakers in Las Vegas, and Texas State Board of Education candidates got a shout-out from Linda Chavez-Thompson, candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor.  Judy Jennings and I hopped up on our chairs to wave to the audience.  Thanks to all the incredible people we met, including alpolitics, ellinorianne, TexMex, and many many more.

Meanwhile, back in the Lone Star State, extremists on the Texas State Board of Education held a last-minute vote to gamble with as much as $100 million of the permanent school fund, which is used for textbooks. Extremists took advantage of the absence of two democratic members in order to vote in favor of this risky proposition.  These extremists want to invest in charter school property leasing, a move their own advisors warned against.  

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Traveling throughout the twelve counties of District 5, we see firsthand some wonderful work in our schools.  Public school administrators and teachers have been getting a bad rap from those who refer to the hardworking people who teach our children as “educrats.”  The teachers, principals, superintendents, and school trustees we meet say that their job is hard but rewarding.  Teachers we talk to are tired of being blamed for low results and some feel pressured to “teach to the test.” Everyone is concerned about the high dropout rate in Texas.  In spite of these problems, though, there is hope.  You can help change the direction of The Texas State Board of Education by giving a small donation or forwarding this diary to a friend.

We’ve been attending independent school board meetings, and their work is truly inspiring.  At one board meeting, a trustee shook my hand and said she had never met the incumbent.  She was delighted that we took the time and effort to visit her district.  

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After bullying the minority of sensible members into submission, extremists on the Texas State Board of Education managed to distort, water down, and politicize the curriculum.  Now they complain that people have gotten the facts wrong in describing the latest version of Texas curriculum standards.  It’s true that many people are confused about the current state of affairs, after hundreds of deletions, additions, and last-minute revisions.

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People have protested, petitioned, and wrung their hands about the May Texas State Board of Education meeting. What struck me most clearly about this board, beyond the ideological mania that motivates them, was their utter incompetence in running a meeting, conducting analysis, or making logical decisions. It’s amazing that these people actually have jobs out in the real world.  Anyone who carried on a business in such an illogical and inefficient manner would have a difficult time keeping it afloat.

This group of ideologues is hopeless, and attempting to conduct a reasonable dialogue with them is doomed to failure.  Only the election in November will change things.  People ask what we will be able to do if we are elected.  With real leadership, we can return the board to a reasonable process with the clear goal of improving education in Texas.

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Former Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education Don McLeroy plagiarized his contribution to curriculum standards on "American exceptionalism" from Wikipedia.  Rick Perry's appointee, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott, called the board's recent curricular outrages mere "payback."  For Democratic SBOE candidates, these actions look like another gift from our opponents.  We just need to stand back while these guys shoot themselves in the feet.  We also need to thank the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus for holding hearings where Dr. Michael Soto, Trinity University Professor and candidate for District 3, pointed out McLeroy's inaccurate interpretation of the sources from which he plagiarized his material.  Meanwhile, Fox News launches a full counter attack on Saturday night, May 15th.

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After this past week of teaching and campaigning for Texas State Board of Education, I had a nightmare about a woman saying no Democrats could win in Texas.  In my nightmare, I screamed that we were working as hard as we could and how could she just sit on the sidelines and be so negative.  My dream’s message is clear:  We need help!  The next board will pick the textbooks, and it’s essential that we elect an educated, reasonable majority to implement the will of the people of Texas to give students a 21st century education.  It’s going to take money to make that happen, so we're asking for your support at voterebecca.com.  Here’s why . . .

Poll

Will you contribute to save education in Texas?

66%8 votes
16%2 votes
16%2 votes

| 12 votes | Vote | Results

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A number of people are so frustrated with public education that they advocate home schooling as a solution to the kind of problems we have in Texas and around the nation.  One of the most infamous members of the Texas SBOE, Cynthia Dunbar, home-schooled her children, and she calls public education a tool of "perversion."  

Ms. Dunbar will be retiring from the board at the end of the year, but her opinions will live on.  She represents a powerful faction, and just because she will be out of sight, her views should not be out of our minds.  Public education is in trouble, but what can we do about it?  

Poll

What's the biggest problem with education?

28%20 votes
14%10 votes
5%4 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes
14%10 votes
34%24 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results

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I made a mistake about the Texas State Board of Education's suggested revisions to the curriculum.  They didn’t vote to change all references to democracy to "representative republic."  They wanted to change democracy to "constitutional republic."  After all, what’s the difference?  Who cares about the difference between capitalism (now deleted) and free market (new replacement)?  Do words and the ideas behind them really matter?
Rebecca Bell-Metereau
Candidate for Texas State Board of Education, District 5

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I'm running for the Texas State Board of Education in District 5 against Ken Mercer, a right-wing extremist. My goal is to restore common sense to the board in Texas. Everyone should care about this because it's a problem that could spread to a town near you, if it hasn't already.  Effacement of history continues apace in the United States, and it is our collective responsibility to prevent this from happening.  As a professor of English and film at Texas State University, I see firsthand the effects of a broken system, and my message is that help is on the way.

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