FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas GOP went beyond existing anti-Common Core law for the State of Texas and now included a party platform that seeks to cut state education funding for any district that uses the Common Core.
Breitbart Texas followed the party’s new education plank throughout the convention and spoke with subcommittee chairwoman Susan Fletcher.
She told Breitbart Texas, “I am very proud of the final platform language coming out of the RPT (Republican Party Texas) convention. I believe we have addressed many of the issues that were not previously mentioned such as opposing the use of Common Core — including penalties for violations.”
The Stop Common Core plank now officially reads:
National Core Curriculum — We oppose the use of a national or international standards in the State of Texas (i.e., Common Core, CSCOPE, UN Inclusion, etc.). We also oppose the modification of college entrance exams to reflect any national core philosophies. Furthermore, any independent school district that violates state law banning the use of a national core curriculum or standards shall lose all state funding until said curriculum or standards are removed and no longer being utilized in the classroom.
Breitbart Texas also reported on the implications of this plank as future legislation that would enforce the existing Common Core shield law by punishing school districts that violate HB462 with the loss of their state funding. This would only be reinstated once a district is in compliance with the approved Texas content standards, the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills).
The plank also rejects aligning college entrance exams to any national “core” curriculum. Currently, the College Board is aligning the SAT to the Common Core State Standards.
The final education RPT platform includes 35 other planks from the “Educating our Children” subcommittee; these are now in the final version of the party’s platform. Some planks carried over from the 2012 RPT platform.
Fletcher also told Breitbart Texas that the subcommittee also updated key planks such as “students and district personnel having the right to pray, engage in religious speech anddisplay Christian items on school property, and as well as updating the plank on sex ed.”
A few of the amended education planks recorded into the 2014 RPT platform read:
American Identity, Patriotism and Loyalty — We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty, which includes the contribution and assimilation of different racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the United States and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism. Students have the right to display patriotic items on school property. Students should have the right to read the Bible on public school property.
Religious Freedom in Public Schools — We urge school administrators and officials to inform Texas school students and district personnel specifically of their First Amendment rights to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference. We urge the legislature to end censorship of discussion of religion in our founding documents and encourage discussing those documents, including the Bible astheir basis. Students and district personnel have the right to display Christian items on school property.
Sex Education — We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than the biology of reproduction and abstinence until marriage. We should prohibit entities and their affiliates that have a conflict of interest with our beliefs from conducting sexuality education in public schools and from conducting teacher training. The social aspects of sexuality should be left to the family.
Textbook Approval — The Texas Education Code (TEC) must be amended to empower the State Board of Education (SBOE) to require each Independent School District (ISD) that adopts non-state approved instructional materials to conform to the state approval process to protect citizens’ right to petition, correct factual errors, prevent corruption and fulfill legislative intent in the TEC. Local ISD boards must hold public hearings on such materials. Parents should have access to review classroom materials upon request.
Other education planks the 2014 platform include:
Traditional Principles in Education — We support school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles on which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political, and economic systems. We support curricula that are heavily weighted on original founding documents,including the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Founders’ writings.
US Department of Education — Since education is not an enumerated power of the federal government, we believe the Department of Education (DOE) should be abolished, and prohibit the transfer of any of its functions to any other federal agency.
According Fletcher, the resulting final document containing the education platform isn’t just where the Texas Republican Party stands on the issues, she said, “It’s what we stand for.”
Although it is not legislation, she pointed out it “that is up to the legislators” to turn the platform planks into law(s). The 2014 RPT platform should be available on the party website in the coming days.
Fletcher also served on the GOP State Platform Committee and co-authored a Minority Report on Immigration. She told Breitbart Texas ” I am so very proud of the work that we were able to accomplish with our 2014 platform! Not only did we defeat the Texas Solution, but we were able to get in many new conservative planks and strengthen others.”
Also the GOP nominee for Collin County Commissioner, Precinct 1, in North Texas, Fletcher will take office after the November general election, according to the Texas Local Government Code as she runs unopposed on the ballot.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.