Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Texas: Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire

Texas democrats claim they have enough votes to remove Donald McLeroy as head of the Texas State Board of Education, according to a story by Gary Scharrer in the Houston Chronicle. He writes:
The Bryan dentist has presided over a contentious 15-member State Board of Education that fought over curriculum standards for science earlier this year and English language arts and reading last year. Critics faulted McLeroy for applying his strong religious beliefs in shaping new science standards. McLeroy believes in creationism and that the Earth is about 6,000 years old.

“This particular State Board of Education under the leadership of Dr. McLeroy has been divisive. It’s been dysfunctional, and it has been embarrassing to the point of having commentary on this in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal,” said Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

McLeroy’s leadership, she said, had made Texas “the laughing stock of the nation.”

It certainly has done that. But just when you thought things in Texas might get better, comes this:
There is speculation in the Capitol and within the Texas Education Agency that Gov. Rick Perry might elevate Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, to lead the board. Like McLeroy, Dunbar also holds strong Christian beliefs and recently authored a book that advocates more religion in the public square. “We believe that Texans deserve better than divisive, destructive, extreme leadership,” Shapleigh said. “If the governor chooses to appoint someone more extreme and more divisive, we’ll have to deal with that at the appropriate time.”
Ms. Dunbar, if you will remember, stood up in front of the Texas Board of Education and completely misrepresented Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Werner Arber's work as being anti-Darwinian on the strength of an ICR paper by Jerry Bergman. The misrepresentation received swift condemnation from Dr. Arber, himself. If Cynthia Dunbar is raised to the head of the SBOE, Texas may be back at square one.

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