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FEATURE McGraw-Hill Sees the Light by Nate Blakeslee 8 Perhaps you thought professional historians write your childrens’ textbooks. Guess again. Publisher McGraw-Hill has discovered that the way to the heart of the Board of Education is through the crackpot scholarship of the Christian right. Ate THIS ISSUE DEPARTMENTS Dialogue 2 Editorial 3 In Defense of Public Education by Louis Dubose Left Field 5 Handy Moves, Temple of Gratitude, Bush Beat, Dallas News Drought & Race Records Capital Offenses 14 Legislative Food Chain by Louis Dubose Bad Bills Political Intelligence 17 18 19 Las Americas 20 Mexico Makeover by John Ross BOOKS AND THE CULTURE Crucial Spirit 22 Poetry by Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. Texas Write Stuff 23 Book Review by Dick Holland Equal Economics 26 Book Review by John Robert Behrman Los Otra Films 28 Film Fest Review by Steven G. Kellman Afterword 30 Sports Heists by Bruce McCandless III The Back Page 32 Rick Perry What a Doll! Cover Art by Sam Hurt Molly Ivins Dubya’s Character Study Jim Hightower Corporate Charity, Artful 16 Dodges & Smart Homes EDITORIAL Standing Up for Public Education Almost a decade ago, I attended a press conference at the offices of the Mexican American Legal De fense and Education Fund in downtown San Antonio. Whether it was Edgewood I or Edgewood II, I don’t recall. Nor do I recall the specific issues addressed at the press conference except that it dealt with the school funding equity litigation that began in 1968, when Demetrio Rodriguez stepped forward as the “name plaintiff’ in a federal lawsuit ultimately decided by the Texas Supreme Court. What I vividly recall was that San Antonio Senator Gregory Luna was one of the legislators standing up for equitable school finance. Luna, then a state representative from San Antonio, was also barely standing. He had either just completed bypass surgery or was scheduled for it. And he seemed very frail walking tentatively across the room and terribly short of breath. Ten years later, Luna is one of eleven Senate Democrats standing together to keep Senator Teel Bivins’ voucher bill from being brought up for a vote on the Senate floor. Under Senate rules there is no bill calendar; a bill is listed on the intent calendar, and whenever two-thirds of the body votes to do so, it is brought to the floor. So eleven Senators can keep a bill from being debated. And Senator Luna is one of eleven Democrats standing in the way of an “experimental” voucher bill, tai lored to include the four largest school districts in the state. Once again, Luna is not quite standing. He is back in the hospital in San Antonio, recovering from surgery and gravely ill. Until the second week in April, Luna’s absence was not so important because there was a sufficient margin of anti-voucher votes. Then Democratic Senator Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth let it be known that he was no longer committed to vote against suspending the rules and bringing Bivins’ voucher bill to the floor. Moncrief said that he is still opposed to vouchers, yet believes the issue should get a fair hearing. Translated from the code in which legislators Vic Hinterlang speak, that might well translate: “I want a seat on the Senate Finance/House Appropriation conference committee.” Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry has to make something happen on vouchers this session order to deliver for his biggest financial backer, Dr. James Leininger of San Antonio. Leininger put $1.5 million into Pen -y’ s campaign against Democrat John Sharp and is so committed to vouchers that he has funded a private voucher program in San Antonio, targeting the Edgewood Independent School District. Now it’s time for Perry to make good on his half of the deal. The Lieutenant Governor controls conference committee appointments in THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3 APRIL 30, 1999