Nov 17, 2015 by


“Thomas Ratliff Trying To Make Himself Relevant”

By Donna Garner



Thomas Ratliff doesn’t give a rip about textbook content (excerpts from 11.16.15 Texas Tribune article posted below). He is only trying to make himself appear to be relevant since he has “lost face” with the public. Now a large percentage of Texans know that he is on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) illegally because of his vested interests with Microsoft for whom he has been a registered lobbyist for at least 18 years. The SBOE and the TEA do millions of dollars’ worth of business with Microsoft each year.


When Gov. Greg Abbott was the Texas Attorney General, he ruled on 8.12.11 that there was no “cure” for Thomas Ratliff to stay on the SBOE (


However, in typical fashion, Thomas Ratliff ignored the TAG ruling.  Because there is no way to remove him except for the Texas House to begin impeachment proceedings, (, Ratliff has continued to stay on the SBOE where his only passion is to continue to berate the conservatives on the SBOE and support leftwing causes (e.g., Texas Freedom Network).


During the last Legislative Session, SB 19 (Section 3) was filed.  If this piece of legislation had made it through the Legislature, Thomas Ratliff (who is up for re-election in Nov. 2016) would have been ineligible to run for the Texas State Board of Education or the Texas Legislature because of his registered lobbyist ties. At one point, Ratliff said he was not going to seek re-election; but then he changed his mind and said he might run.  


Basically, Thomas Ratliff is a lame duck because of the bad publicity he has generated for himself across Texas. So what does he decide to do in this week’s SBOE meetings?  He once again is trying to cast aspersions on the adoption process for instructional materials (IM’s). The fact is that the common, everyday people who have volunteered their time and energy along with those people who have been officially appointed to evaluate the IM’s have successfully found hundreds of mistakes in the IM’s.  (Please see links posted at the bottom of the page that identify two of these dedicated volunteer  groups.)


Recently on 11.9.15, Barbara Cargill (past chair of the SBOE) published an excellent article that addressed the same problem to which Ratliff and the Texas Tribune refer (the discovery by a freshman student in Pearland High School of an error in his World Geography textbook).


Ms. Cargill explains that the problem is not with the people on the IM adoption committee but is instead a problem created by SB 6 (passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011).   


11.9.15 – Excerpts from Barbara Cargill’s article posted at:


Senate Bill 6, passed in 2011, allows publishers to submit digital or printed versions of their textbooks to participate in the state review process. Digital textbooks are not like the printed textbooks that may still come home in your kids’ backpacks! The student has links to open, videos to watch, academic games to play, activities and lesson resources to study, and assessments to take. Needless to say, reviewing a digital textbook is very different than the old pre-Senate Bill 6 days of reviewing only printed copies, which is difficult enough with many books being hundreds of pages long.


The McGraw-Hill World Geography book was a digital submission. For a reviewer, navigating to the erroneous map caption would have required clicking on the chapter, clicking on 1 of 4 lesson resources, and then further clicking on 1 of 16 ancestries listed on the map. Only then did the incorrect content appear in a pop-up screen.


Donna Garner




11.16.15 – “Texas Board May Vote To Let Academics Check School Textbooks” – by Will Weissert — Austin American-Statesman




Texas education officials may vote this week to have outside experts check for factual errors in textbooks used in its public schools, a small but key concession that could soften longstanding ideological fights over how history, science and religion are taught across America’s second-largest state.

Approved books currently are scrutinized by citizen review panels whose members are nominated by board members.

“The problem is you get some political ideologues, like some of my colleagues like to appoint, instead of people who can think for themselves and not be told what to think,” said Ratliff, from Mount Pleasant in East Texas.

If the measure passes Wednesday, final approve would come in a potentially less contentious vote Friday.

Ratliff said his proposal wouldn’t alter the content of the books, only seek to prevent factual errors. But that still could be a major change because some board members have long been reticent of having university professors check books whose approval is up to the board.

“I typically always suspect (Ratliff’s) motives given his difficult relationship with the conservative membership on the board,” said David Bradley, a Republican member from the Gulf Coast city of Beaumont.

“We’re always going to be bitterly divided on what constitutes an expert,” Bradley said. “There are members on the board that would define Bernie Sanders as a foreign policy expert and there are those of us who would vehemently oppose that.”




12.8.14 — “Average Citizens Can Make a Difference in Textbooks” — by Lt. Col. Roy White (ret.) —


Educational Research Analysts – Have been the nation’s leading textbook reviewers for more than 50 years —



Donna Garner

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