Skip to main content

So Greg Aboott (R. TX) is focusing his campaign on education right now and his main source of information couldn't be any more surprising:

In talking about his Pre-kindergarten education plans this week, Greg Abbott cited Charles Murray, a conservative libertarian scholar whose work has caused major eruptions over the role of race and gender in achievement.

Murray currently works for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute and has written numerous books, essays and opinion columns on education.

In September 2005, after Harvard University president Larry Summers was forced out for suggesting women were under-represented in fields of science because of a lower aptitude, Murray wrote an essay defending Summers’ statement.

In it he wrote, “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.”

He also said “Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists, and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to the first rank.”

He credits that theory to women and men are cognitively different — and women wanting to have babies, which pulls them out of the workplace during key times.

“I have omitted perhaps the most obvious reason why men and women differ at the highest levels of accomplishment: men take more risks, are more competitive, and are more aggressive than women,” he also stated. - The Dallas Morning News, 4/1/14

Here's a little more info:

In the second paragraph of his introduction, Abbott cites Charles Murray, a conservative social scientist and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

"Family background has the most decisive effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle class homes," Abbott writes, citing Murray's book Real Education in the footnote. (Abbott's plan misspells the book's title as "Read Education.")

Murray is a very problematic source of inspiration for an education plan. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as "one of the most influential social scientists in America, using racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor."

"In Murray’s world, wealth and social power naturally accrue towards a 'cognitive elite' made up of high-IQ individuals (who are overwhelmingly white, male, and from well-to-do families), while those on the lower end of the eponymous bell curve form an 'underclass' whose misfortunes stem from their low intelligence," the Southern Poverty Law Center, which describes Murray as a "white nationalist," writes.

Murray's 2008 book that Abbott cites, Real Education, argues that students with lower IQ's are not as educable as smarter children and should be siphoned off to vocational programs instead of sent to college. He estimates that only 10 to 20 percent of young adults are capable of doing college-level work.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recently cited Murray in his controversial and racially-charged assertion that poverty is caused by lazy, "inner city" men. - Huffington Post, 4/1/14

But it shouldn't be surprising that Abbott would use Murray as a source:

Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott talks about about his first portion of his three-part "Education Texans" policy during a news conference Monday March 31, 2014 at Sam Houston Elementary School in Weslaco, Texas. (AP Photo/The Monitor, Gabe Hernandez) MAGS OUT TV OUT
Simply put, Greg Abbott’s alliances reveal his true character. It’s from these associations that Texans get a glimpse into the heart, mind and soul of Mr. Abbott. Little by little, his friends, his speeches, and his carefully choreographed political theater are peeling away the façade he created as Attorney General.

You’re known by the fruits of your actions and our first clue should have been Abbott’s ex-staffer, Lorenzo Garza’s “Catch An Illegal immigrant” game on the UT campus.

Next, he chose Ted Nugent as campaign spokesman and now poor Ted is the political equivalent of an untouchable, a complete political pariah whom the town of Longview paid to stay away.

For two weeks, he hemmed and hawed his way around the Equal Pay issue, until he was finally honest and stated that he’s totally against it.

In Abbott’s case, familiarity breeds contempt. The more we get to know him, the less we like him.  

It wasn’t enough that he deemed early childhood education a “waste”. It wasn’t enough that he wants to test four-year-olds, despite the fact that it goes against all scientific study of the developing brain. Instead of expanding access to state-funded early childhood programs, he proposes money to be assigned only to those preschoolers who “deserve” it, based upon rigorous testing. Totally without shame, he defends the state's $200 million in cuts to its early childhood program, despite the plethora of academic research (342 million scholarly articles) proving that early childhood education works.

We should shorten Abbott’s plan to a simple understandable phrase that summarizes its underlying principle: Teach the best and shoot the rest.

If a child fails to show potential at age three or four, then they deserve to be hurled into the great pile of disposable castoffs. At four, Texas politicians and primarily, the testing lobbyists, will decide their future for them. At age four, we will relegate them in advance for a career in shoveling gravel on a hot highway, cleaning houses, mowing yards, or picking crops in South Texas. - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 4/2/14

Not to mention Davis has already been hammering Abbott on his hypocrisy regarding education:

The last time, Davis pointed to Abbott’s discriminatory pay policies as Attorney-General when he claimed to support equal pay for women.  Davis’ use of facts was effective enough to make the Texas boys club of Republicans more than a little nervous for their boy Greg.

This time, the issue was pre-K.  Following Abbott’s announcement of his plans to improve Texas’s pre-K program, Wendy Davis gave 20 million reasons why Abbott’s promises prove he is a hypocrite.  Twenty million is the number of dollars in cuts to Texas’ pre-K program that Abbot is defending in court.

"The hypocrisy is astonishing. It’s completely dishonest for Greg Abbott to be talking about early education at the same time he’s defending deep cuts to Texas pre-k in the courtroom, Despite the pleas of students, teachers, parents and school boards across the state, Greg Abbott is using his office to undermine Texas’ effort to prepare its students for the jobs of a 21st century economy."

Ouch!  Facts strike again!  Aside from using facts to prove, once again, that Greg Abbott’s statements need to be fact checked with his actions, Davis exposed Gregg Abbott’s true agenda of returning to yester-century when access to education was restricted to children of the rich and the privileged.  No matter how Abbott tries to mansplain it, there is nothing about a $20 million dollar cut to Texas’ pre-K program that is conducive to improving the program, or improving access to it.

In reality, Gregg Abbott is saying that educating all of Texas’ children to ready them for 21st century challenges is a waste and by extension that access to 21st century opportunities should be limited to a chosen few. - Politicus USA, 3/31/14

While racists side with Abbott, teachers side with Davis.  Lets make sure her campaign is ready to win in November.  Click here to donate and get involved with her campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Black Kos community, Turning Texas: Election Digest, and This Week in the War on Women.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site