Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2010
Contact: Tina Tran, (512) 463-0113

State Senator Rodney Ellis Responds to SBOE Debate

(Austin, TX)//Today the State Board of Education (SBOE) took public comment on the proposed changes to social studies curriculum standards. The SBOE is expected to vote on the new curriculum standards this Friday. Over 200 individuals signed up to give comment. Senator Ellis released the following statement in response to today's events.

"I urge the State Board to delay the vote on the proposed social studies standards. Texans from throughout the state traveled to Austin today to voice their displeasure with the politically-motivated changes that could negatively affect a generation of students. It's time for the Board to reassess their true motive for service: is it to help educate children through fact-based curriculum? Or is it to push their narrow points of view and play politics with Texas education?

I am thankful that leaders such as National NAACP President Ben Jealous and former Secretary of Education Rod Paige were present to urge the Board to delay their vote. Additionally, members of the Texas Legislature like Rep. Helen Giddings, Rep. Alma Allen, Rep. Sylvester Turner, Rep. Ruth McClendon, and Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer carried the same message.

Last session, I pushed hard to reform how the Board operates. First, I joined with three Republican colleagues in attempting to transfer the Board's authority to approve textbooks and curriculum to the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. Second, I filed legislation to place the Board under the periodic review of the Sunset Advisory Commission. This would have created a unique opportunity for the Legislature to look closely at the Board and make fundamental changes and improve its operations. Unfortunately, neither bill made it out of committee. I pledge, however, to continue the fight to reform the Board and ensure that something as important as the education of our children is not unduly influenced by the political whims of Board members."