The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) rejected anti-parent library policies earlier this month, after parents concerned about the left-wing agendas pervasive in their kids’ classrooms got involved and won election to the board last year.
In a 10-5 vote, which exactly met a two-thirds majority threshold, conservative board members overwhelmingly rejected the inclusion of several American Library Association policies in the state’s librarian certification requirements.
A posted description of the State Board for Educator Certification’s proposed revisions sounds innocuous enough. They “would update the standards for the School Librarian and Reading Specialist certificates, would provide timelines for transitions for both certificates to the new standards for preparation purposes, and would provide technical edits as necessary,” the board agreed in February, before sending their proposal before the SBOE.
But the changes would have included an insidious condemnation of parents’ rightful involvement in their children’s education. The certification board specifically asked the SBOE to rubber-stamp several references to the ALA’s ethics and privacy policies in Chapter 19 of the Texas Administrative Code.
“As students and minors mature, it is increasingly important that they are provided with opportunities to exercise their curiosity and develop their intellect free from the chilling effects of surveillance by educators, peers, parents, or commercial interests,” the ALA’s Library Privacy Guidelines for Students in K-12 Schools state.
The ALA has a long history of circumventing parental rights to fill local and school library shelves with pornographic, racist, and leftist propaganda. Not only does Emily Drabinski, the ALA’s incoming president, openly brag about “queering” libraries. The association also prides itself on bypassing state laws that protect students from indoctrination and grooming.
Several conservatives on the SBOE — including recently elected parents who ran on pro-parent platforms — firmly opposed the use of the national association’s educator guidelines because the ALA’s policies contradict explicit protections for parents in current state code.
According to the Texas Education Code, “a parent is entitled to full information regarding the school activities of a parent’s child.”
“I’m a policymaker, in public education, but I’m also a parent,” veteran board member Will Hickman said to his colleagues during their general meeting in mid-April. “And for me, the parents have the right to see what their children are learning, what their children are doing. I have one daughter who’s 18 so I’ve just lost all those rights. But until my kids turn 18, I get to oversee what they’re doing and their education.”
Some SBOE members, however, had no problem with the ALA’s continued hostility towards parental oversight.
“The ALA is a nationally respected institution and so those individuals are subject matter experts,” board member Marisa Perez-Diaz said, noting she was opposed to a veto. “I just want us to consider: We would never step into an operating room and tell doctors what processes and procedures to follow and not to follow because we don’t have the expertise … and that’s what I think this veto will do.”
Another member, Rebecca Bell-Metereau, accused the conservatives on the board of leading “an unfounded attack on librarians, on their professional association” and “moving in the direction of book burning, which is really counter to education.”
Both members were quickly reminded by their colleague LJ Francis that it is “well within any member’s right here to rule as they see fit and make any objections, amendments, or substitutions, irrespective of what an expert body might indicate.”
“We hear the recurring term ‘banning books.’ That’s not what we, or the legislature, is doing here. That statement is untrue and unfounded,” Francis retorted. “We employ experts at our discretion and it’s up to policymakers what to do with those, that information. Experts do not run this process. The legislature grants us specific authority to make rules and regulations, as we see fit based on our discretion.”
Because of the SBOE’s veto, the state’s certification board will need to rewrite its updated school librarian certificate guidelines without reference to the ALA and resubmit that for approval to the SBOE.
“This is an issue that is huge in our society right now. From our governor, to our legislators, to our board, to parents especially, and children and teachers,” board member Julie Pickren said during the board’s Committee on School Initiatives meeting in mid-April.
During that same committee meeting, Pickren asked if any Texas librarians have lost their certifications “based on pornographic materials and children?”
Emily Garcia, a Gov. Greg Abbott appointee serving as associate commissioner for Educator Preparation, Certification, and Enforcement, told the committee that the state had revoked some certificates but she wasn’t sure how many.
Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire, Fox News, and RealClearPolitics. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.
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