The SBOE, which sets policy and standards for Texas public schools, was tasked with deciding between two providers of instructional materials (IM) for middle school-aged students.
Publisher Goodheart-Willcox won the vote over QuaverEd on Friday, November 19, at an SBOE meeting, but Moms for Liberty took issue with the fact that both IM providers include surveys in their content.
“It is a new trend for data to be collected on children as early as kindergarten about their emotional state with these surveys,” said Mary Lowe, chair of the Tarrant County chapter of Moms for Liberty. “Popular questions are ‘how do you feel’ and ‘what happened in your home last night?’ We believe they are creating a profile that will follow the child to college. We also believe they will use the information to medicate children for depression based on diagnoses that are done from those surveys and by teachers.”
Moms for Liberty is a parental rights group founded in January that has 1,500 Fort Worth-area members on Facebook and 60,000 nationwide.
At the SBOE meeting, Lowe asked that the surveys be removed from the IM.
“We don’t know that that is being done,” she said. “Parents need to have a conversation with their child and tell them not to answer any questions about them personally, or their families personally, or about their personal health. We also recommend that every parent file a document with their school to put in their child’s file that they may not be included or asked to participate in any surveys.”
Neither Goodheart-Willcox nor QuaverEd responded to requests for comment.
As previously reported in the Dallas Express, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the SBOE two weeks ago about creating standards to prevent books with sexual content from circulating through the public school system.
Another issue with the IM that Moms for Liberty was vocal about at the SBOE hearing is terminology referring to parents as trusted adults rather than trusted parents.
“It’s an egregious breach of any acknowledgment of a parent-child relationship,” Lowe told the Dallas Express. “They refer the child to a ‘trusted adult’ and we have a great concern with that because what we know today about sex traffickers and pedophilia is that, 90% of the time, they create a relationship with the child before abducting the child or before violating the child. We want the content to state ‘parent’ or ‘who you live with.’ Trusted adult is too broad.”
Being outspoken has paid off for Moms for Liberty. The publisher, Goodheart-Willcox, agreed to include both “parents” and “trusted adult” in the IM.
“That’s valuable for it to be both,” Lowe added. “If your parent is on vacation and you’re with a babysitter or grandparent, that’s a trusted adult. That’s fine. We are just going to have to wait and see if they insert it, which passes the buck back to the parents at the local level of chasing the curriculum to see what’s actually in it.”