And get religious fundamentalists, who are only interested in furthering their own religious agenda, OFF influential state boards of education.
Let’s start in Texas, where looney toon local dentist and Texas State Board of Education member Don McLeroy has been driving the agenda of the Texas State Board of Education. Don’t know about Don McLeroy? He was prominently featured recently in a New York Times Sunday Magazine piece entitled ‘How Christian Were the Founders?’ I’ll excerpt regarding the Texas State Board of Education and Dr. McLeroy:
Following the appeals from the public, the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, submitted their own proposed changes to the new social-studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention — guidelines that will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years. Gail Lowe — who publishes a twice-a-week newspaper when she is not grappling with divisive education issues — is the official chairwoman, but the meeting was dominated by another member. Don McLeroy, a small, vigorous man with a shiny pate and bristling mustache, proposed amendment after amendment on social issues to the document that teams of professional educators had drawn up over 12 months, in what would have to be described as a single-handed display of archconservative political strong-arming.
McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands. (emphasis is mine)
Rather longish excerpt- but you get the point. Mr. McLeroy, a member (and former chair) of the Texas State Board of Education is infusing what will be published in textbooks that will be used all over this country from K-12, with his own personal agenda. I’ve written about this topic in passing before, and so has the New York Times. Yes, this began just with what science textbooks in Texas would have in them, but it seems to be spreading to every damn textbook.
This is wrong people. WRONG.
What can you do about it??? Well, in my humble opinion, we need to remove such individuals from state boards of education. This takes dedicated people, and this takes money. Citizens in McLeroy’s own district need your help to take out radio and print ads to inform people of McLeroy’s dreadful record before next Tuesday’s open primary, where his membership on the State Board will be voted on.
To this end they have set up a website to collect donations which can be found here at SMART STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.
If you care about providing quality, factual, and non-ideologically driven public education for every child in this country I urge you to support this effort. You might think that this doesn’t affect you if you don’t live in Texas, but I promise you- no matter where you live in this country this will touch what your children learn in school.
Also, I urge similarly inclined bloggers to post something about this on their blogs as well…
Amazingly, despite everything McLeroy has said and done, it appears that no candidate from the Democratic Party will run against him this year.
For those who want more information than is perhaps sensible, I’ve blogged extensively about the Texas State Board of Education on NeuroDojo.
Zen- Thanks. Yes, he was opposed in the last election, and that went badly. Which was very,very unfortunate. At least he has been removed from the chair position, that’s something… but not enough.
to eliminate this problem, make all schools private. then send your kid to the school that shares your own values. no more need to bicker over these things. simple
Matt- I don’t think that solves the problem at all, and to me schools aren’t about values- they are about knowledge. In order to function as a civilized society, we should strive for a society where all kids have a basic level of factual knowledge. This is hideously important especially in math and science. We can, and should, do better with our public school system.
If you want to teach your kids particular religious values- there is a place for that- its called Sunday school.
It is reasons like this (and many others) that I’m running for State Board of Education in Texas as a moderate Democrat. I’m not in McLeroy’s district but I am running against right-wing idealogue Ken Mercer in District 5. I encourage you to visit http://www.voterebecca.com to learn more and find out how to get involved with this important issue.
In Texas, primaries are open, meaning any voter can participate in the GOP primary election. Voters do not have to be registered members of a party to vote in that party’s primary. The primary election day is March 2. Even though I am not Republican, I am voting against McLeroy and for Thomas Ratliff, his opponent. I encourage you to do the same. Tell your family, friends and and co-workers