OUR last posting on creationism and the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) was here: Don McLeroy & the Future. In today’s Dallas Morning News we read Social conservatives’ power at issue in Texas education board races. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Battles are shaping up for three seats held by social conservatives, both in the Republican primary and with Democrats lined up to seek a pair of those seats in the fall general election.
On the other side, a GOP candidate with social conservative leanings is seeking to knock off a longtime Republican incumbent in West Texas.
The next several paragraphs are a good summary of the Board’s crazier actions in recent years. If you need some background to understand the election battles coming up this year, we recommend this article. We’ll skip the background and get right to the election contests now pending:
Eight of the 15 board seats are on the ballot this year. Three of those, including McLeroy’s, are held by members of the social conservative faction.
Our own lineup of who’s who on the Board was given after the Texas Science Chainsaw Massacre (26 Mar ‘09), and we’ll copy it again:
Regarding the votes, the seven creationist Republicans were: Don McLeroy, Cynthia Dunbar, Ken Mercer, Terri Leo, Gail Lowe, David Bradley, and Barbara Cargill. The three Republicans voting for sane science (pro-evolution) were: Patricia Hardy, Geraldine Miller, and Bob Craig. The four Democrats voting for science (at least against “strengths and weaknesses”) were Rene Nuñez, Lawrence A. Allen, Jr., Mavis B. Knight, and Rick Agosto — although Agosto later voted to approve several creationist amendments. He’s all over the place. Mary Helen Berlanga, a pro-science member, wasn’t present.
Okay, back to the Dallas Morning News. We’re going to re-sequence a couple of their paragraphs here. This is what they say about the Don McLeroy v. Thomas Ratliff contest:
Now McLeroy is again in a contest to determine the board’s direction. His Republican primary opponent is lobbyist Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, son of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff.
The younger Ratliff said he wants to “take politics out of public education,” citing the continuing squabbles over textbooks, evolution and sex education. McLeroy insists education is “too important not to be politicized.”
The creationist dentist is always good for a quote like that. Let’s read on about the struggle for Ken Mercer’s Seat:
Another social conservative running for re-election is Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, who has similarly drawn a strong challenger in the GOP primary, San Antonio lawyer Tim Tuggey. Four Democrats have also filed for the post.
We haven’t written yet about Tuggey, but we will. Meanwhile, let’s continue with a race we last wrote about here: Dunbar Drops Out:
The third social conservative seat up for election has been held by Republican Cynthia Dunbar … a lightning rod for opponents of the social conservatives after several controversial comments, including her description of public education as a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”
She recently announced she would not run for another term, setting up a battle in the GOP primary for her seat between a candidate she is backing and one who has been critical of her. Another Republican and a Democrat are also running.
Next is the race for Bog Craig’s seat — he’s one of the sane (pro-science) Republicans currently on the Board. The last time we wrote about Craig was back when he was considered as a possibility to become McLeroy’s Successor as chairman of the BOE. Here’s what the Dallas Morning News says:
Republican Bob Craig of Lubbock, an incumbent who has often been at odds with the social conservatives, is facing a primary challenge from a former school board chairman in Odessa, Randy Rives, who pushed through a controversial Bible study class and an abstinence-only sex education program in that district.
Randy sounds like a great guest to invite to your next party. We’ll wrap this up with two quotes the article gives us from Don McLeroy:
“There’s always controversy in education in Texas, but it has intensified the last two years because we’ve been winning,” said McLeroy, a dentist …
The article puts this one near the end:
“Our decisions are going to have gigantic impact on education in the future,” McLeroy predicted.
What a guy! What a state! What is happening to us?
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