State Board of Education election coverage should discuss charter schools, not just culture wars

As I noted in this earlier post, media coverage of the State Board of Education tends to focus on their role in selecting textbooks. For example, a recent article in the Express-News quoted Ken Mercer, a Republican who represents District 5 (North Side San Antonio and the Hill Country):

Mercer was one of the leaders in the fight over new social studies curriculum standards, pushing free enterprise principles and patriotic themes. It was important, Mercer said, for new history curriculum standards to be “on the conservative side.”

“SBOE candidates split on future of education”, Gary Scharrer, San Antonio Express-News, October 14, 2012. Mercer also expressed support for his colleague Charlie Garza, a Republican who is in a close race in District 1 (El Paso).

Garza and Mercer both serve on the Committee on School Initiatives, which is responsible for “oversight of the selection, review, and evaluation of open-enrollment charter schools” (according to SBOE Operating Rules). The committee (which also includes District 3’s Dr. Michael Soto) will interview charter applicants, including BASIS and Great Hearts, on November 2 in Austin. We hope you will join us in Austin to support these applicants.

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