Texas State Board of Education members and the Christian Right: 'The Revisionaries'

by Andre Soares

Texas State Board of Education members The Revisionaries Scott ThurmanThe Revisionaries: Texas State Board of Education members and the Christian Right

Scott Thurman's The Revisionaries – a “must see” film in the words of Michael Moore and the recipient of a Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary at this year's Tribeca Film Festival – is described as “an urgent exposé about the religious takeover of the Texas State Board of Education and its effects on the future of the American public school system.” Quite appropriately, The Revisionaries' U.S. premiere will be held in Texas: at Dallas' Landmark Magnolia 5 on October 5.

As explained in the distributor Kino-Lorber's press release, The Revisionaries, co-written by the Texan-born Thurman and Jawad Metni (Remnants of a War, Trading with the Enemy), “showcases how public education has become the latest battleground in a new wave of cultural, religious and ideological clashes, with local Texas education board members advancing agendas of Creationism and other religious issues in public schools.”

If religious freaks taking over education boards – no matter the religion, whether in Texas or elsewhere in the world – don't frighten you, then you have a serious problem. And so does everybody else on Planet Earth. And remember: those people were elected to the Texas State Board of Education.

The Revisionaries: Texas and the 'Culture Wars'

The information below is from Kino-Lorber's The Revisionaries release:

With unprecedented access to the 15 people elected as members of the Texas State Board of Education, The Revisionaries offers a behind-the-scenes look at how a small group of local officials decide what should be taught to the next generation of high school students across America.

Once every decade, the highly politicized Texas State Board rewrites the teaching and textbook standards for its nearly 5 million schoolchildren. Because of the huge scale of the Texas purchase and the economics of publishing, these rules are largely adopted by textbook publishers across the U.S., and in effect, dictate what students learn about science and social studies from Maine to Hawaii.

Don McLeroy, a dentist, young earth creationist and Sunday school teacher who believes dinosaurs and humans co-habited the earth, leads the religious right charge. During his time on the board, McLeroy has overseen the adoption of new science and history curriculum standards, placing Texas on the front line of the so-called “culture wars.”

In his last term, McLeroy, aided by Cynthia Dunbar, a Law professor at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, found himself not only fighting to change what Americans are taught, but also struggling to retain his seat on the board.

Challenged by Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, and Ron Wetherington, an anthropology professor, McLeroy engaged in a national battle about the meaning of religious freedom and this country's separation between church and state.

The Revisionaries release dates

On Oct. 12, The Revisionaries opens at Houston's Sundance Cinemas. That'll be followed by Oct. 26 debuts in New York City (Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center) and Austin (Violet Crown Cinema). The documentary expands to other U.S. markets in November.

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John -

BTW, Texas is not the only state with a large population. What are the standards for textbooks in California, Florida, and New York?

John -

I live in Texas. If Michael Moore and other outsiders want less religion in our kid's textbooks then they should promote books with less Socialist themes and concepts. Most of us don't have a problem with science but we DO have a problem with Socialism being taught to our kids without our consent. Religion belongs in churches, temples, etc. and Socialism belongs on the scrap heap of philosophy - as they have learned in Eastern Europe.


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