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Austin

Poll shows most Texans reject school curriculum process

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The liberal-leaning Texas Freedom Network Education Fund (TFN) said many Texans reject the process by which the State Board of Education (SBOE) reformed curriculum changes for Texas students.

The TFN released the results of its statewide survey into education and curriculum issues in Texas, about two months after the SBOE approved more than 400 amendments to proposed textbook curriculum changes made by education experts.

SBOE members alleged that original recommendations made by education professionals leaned too much to the left, and instead suggested modifications to emphasize conservative ideologies and influences in U.S. and Texas history.

"Texans overwhelmingly support reforming the way the state sets requirements for curriculum and textbooks in public schools and reject key 'culture war' positions the right has taken regarding public education," the TFN said in a statement.

According to the TFN, the May statewide survey, by Democratic-leaning Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, suggests the following:

• 72 percent of likely Texas voters want teachers and scholars, not politicians, to be responsible for writing curriculum requirements for public schools.
• The overwhelming support for putting experts in charge of writing curriculum standards is bipartisan (84 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Independents) and evident in all of the state’s major urban regions.
• Texas voters have complex views regarding the intersection of religion and education, with 68 percent saying separation of church and state is a key constitutional principle, but 49 percent saying religion should have more influence in public schools.
• Support for more religion in public schools, however, should not suggest that Texas voters also back the positions of social conservatives on hot-button "culture war" issues.
• 80 percent of likely Texas voters agree that high school classes on sex education should teach "about contraception, such as condoms and other birth control, along with abstinence."
• 88 percent of likely Texas voters think public schools should be required "to protect all children from bullying, harassment, and discrimination in school, including the children of gay and lesbian parents or teenagers who are gay."
• 55 percent of likely Texas voters oppose using publicly funded vouchers that allow some students to attend private and religious schools.

"Texas voters – regardless of political affiliation or ideological views – agree that politics has no place in developing public school curricula," Anna Greenberg, of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, said in a statement. "Voters show strong support for ensuring that teachers and scholars can determine curriculum standards for public schools that provide a high quality education and prepare students for the future, without interference from partisan state board members."

The research group surveyed 972 likely voters in Texas, with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. According to the TFN, the survey included an oversample of likely voters aged 18-29 and those living in the seven fastest-growing counties, including Collin, Comal, Fort Bend, Hays, Montgomery, Rockwall and Williamson counties.

To view the full survey, visit TFN.org.

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