Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

October 2, 2006

Your Texas State Board of Education: Don McLeroy

District 9 of the Texas State Board of Education is represented by Don McLeroy of Bryan, Texas. Apparently, McLeroy doesn’t like to let little things like facts get in his way. Recently, he was one of the board members advocating changing Texas English , Reading, and Writing standards.

Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas:

“Texas standards are not grade-level specific, most of them are noise. They can’t be measured and are just a bunch of fuzzy words,” McLeroy said.

Fuzzy words like these for high school English:

Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas:

(B) demonstrate control over grammatical elements such as subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, verb forms, and parallelism;

Pretty fuzzy alright. Anyone can review the TEKS standards online at the TEA website. You can read more about the curriculum changes here:

All other states, beware! Texas is changing curriculum standards!

His seat is actually being contested by Maggie Charleton. And a lot of people seem to prefer her to McLeroy.

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials:

First, Ms. Charleton. The Bryan Democrat is much less likely than her opponent, Republican incumbent Don McLeroy of Bryan, to use her position to insert politics into the review of textbooks. She says the board should review textbooks to see whether they meet the standards set by experts, not for a particular view of the world. That makes sense.Dr. McLeroy, a 60-year-old Bryan dentist, wants the state board weighing in more directly on textbooks. He’s been part of the group that wants broader review powers, even though the Legislature rightly stripped the board of much of this authority.

Dr. McLeroy, backed by religious conservatives, has been on the board since 1998. We believe it’s time to infuse the board with some new blood, and Ms. Charleton, with her 30 years of teaching experience, seems to have a lot to offer.

Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas – Charleton on a ‘listening tour’:

Charleton, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Don McLeroy of Bryan. The seat is a swing position in a struggle for control of the board, she insists. Ideology is taking the upper hand on the board, overruling the needs of kids and parents.She points to the editing of text books to remove references to slavery in history, to remove information about breast self-exams and testicle self-exams from health books, and evolution from biology texts.

McLeroy is part of the group that includes Miller and Leo who are interested in regaining control of content of text books. His seat matters.

Retired teacher challenges SBOE incumbent in District 9:

The Texas Freedom Network, a non-partisan watchdog group that advocates a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties, calls the District 9 seat the “swing seat” that will determine whether moderates or “political and religious ultra-conservatives” control the 15-member board.

Retired teacher challenges SBOE incumbent in District 9:

In the past, conservative Republicans on the board have advocated limiting the way Texas public school curriculum deals with issues like evolution, civil rights, sexuality education and environmental issues. In response to ideological infighting on the SBOE, the Texas legislature 11 years ago removed the board’s power to determine textbook content as part of the textbook adoption process.Conservative Republicans now hold seven of the 15 seats on the state board.

Charleton says she would like to bring mainstream Texas values and common sense to the board’s deliberations.

Here’s part of a letter written to Miller concerning McLeroy’s actions.

Texas Citizens for Science:

But that still was not enough. Unwillingly to let the TEA textbook staff do their jobs, Dr. McLeroy thought it necessary to correspond with the biology textbook publishers themselves and act like a one-man Texas Education Agency. He reminded publishers on Jan. 8 that “there is a process by which errors that remain in the books will be fixed before they get into the hands of children,” and that their “cooperation in it is required.” This sort of ex parte communication is probably not legal, and is certainly very irregular and unwise. The only way to explain this is to conclude that Dr. McLeroy is bullying the publishers, an exercise of over-reaching that all pseudoscientists engage in and serves as one of its identifiers. After all the implied threats and coercion that textbook publishers have to endure under the normal Texas textbook adoption process to change their books’ content to satisfy the political, religious, and social desires of the State Board as a single entity, now they are having to endure individual Board members calling them up with the same implied threats and informing them their “cooperation” is “required” in yet another sleazy attempt to satisfy the Discovery Institute’s wishes. No wonder our country’s textbook publishers feel they are harassed by the Texas process. Believe me, they complain privately about this, and their complaints are fully justified.There exists even further evidence that these actions were part of a planned strategy to censor the evolution content of the biology books despite their overwhelming adoption by the SBOE without changes asked for by the Discovery Institute and other creationist organizations: while the public–including scientists and science educators, and probably most members of the State Board of Education–were kept ignorant of the details of the behind-the-scene maneuverings of Dr. McLeroy to intimidate publishers, the details were known to members of other creationist organizations. Mr. Frank Mayo, an officer of Texans for Better Science Education, was obviously aware of the push to damage the biology books under the guise of “error correction,” since he referred to this effort in his message to the Katy ISD Board as they considered which biology textbook to adopt.

There’s plenty more but since the letter was addressed to Miller, I suspect she didn’t see any reason to pursue any of it’s claims.

Visit McLeroy’s webpage for more information on his priorities and beliefs. He begins with the need for teaching “clear thinking” in Texas schools.

Clear Thinking about the Texas Public School System:

Thus, the most amazing “orthodoxy” which dominates the educational establishment “leviathan” today is the slighting of “facts and knowledge” for emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking. Problem solving and critical thinking are secondary skills. Before one can think and solve he must first have something to think about.

I have to admit that I only skimmed the stuff. But jeez, he calls it “clear thinking” but it isn’t supposed to emphasis critical thinking skills. I suspect this falls into the realm of Leo’s tendencies to indoctrination rather than thinking. What can I say, I work in a profession that didn’t even exist when I was in graduate school and I coach Odyssey of the Mind. Facts accumulate and even change over time. We need to be able to figure out how to use them.

If you want facts against evolution or comprehensive sex education, McLeroy’s website is the place for it. Of course, I find it curious that he doesn’t present a whole lot of facts backing up his abstinence only approach to sex education.

As for his approach to evolution? I didn’t bother with it. People who want evolution out of the schools aren’t interested in science being able to explain and predict the world around us, they are interested in discrediting anything that contradicts their religious beliefs.

I do believe this gets us back to indoctrination again. Is education about the filling of the pail or the lighting of the fire? Oh, wait a minute. Did Yeats believe in evolution?

7 Comments »

  1. […] the Head of the Texas State Board of Education. Since then, there have been outcries from citizens calling him on his misinformed and dangerous view of […]

    Pingback by Sorry, Children of Texas - You’re Fucked « The Great Realization — August 8, 2007 @ 7:57 am

  2. Dr. McLeroy
    You may be planning to give children a choice about Origins.
    I encourage you to include all alternatives include=ing, of course,
    the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    It is at least as valid as Intellegent Design if not moree so.
    Here is their web site.
    http://www.venganza.org/
    Thanks.

    Comment by Capekicks — August 20, 2007 @ 11:00 am

  3. Dear dr. McLeroy,

    I’d like to voice my support for the comment by Capekicks. If one scientifically unfounded alternative theory of origins (the so often disproven lunacy that is creationism, in either its open form or dressed up as science under the moniker of Intelligent Design) is going to be forced onto children, than it would be unfair not to give other fairy tales an equal chance.

    sincerely,
    a Pastafarian

    Comment by DutchPastaGuy — August 20, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  4. Dear Dr. McLeroy,
    Being a partisan of “clear thinking” myself, I can recommend a website totally dedicated to that. No theory, no “fuzziness”, real clear thoughts. Okay, sometimes is “fuzzy” interference, mostly from badly educated people who only have read one (1) book, and even not entirely. They even have to rely on what other people quote from that book.
    Oh, true, I almost forgot, the website: it’s
    http://www.venganza.org/
    Thanks for considering all ways that lead to “clear thinking”!

    Comment by Jean Bart — August 20, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Dr.McLeroy,
    please give up your seat, i admire it when stupid people like you get this high in society, but please make no mistakes, if you go on, you might feel the wrath of the FSM. This means you will get STALE BEER and UGLY STRIPPERS once you’re dead, and that ain’t something you want isn’t it?
    fear not, there is a way to repent, just make sure the pastafarian way is teached in classes (by teachers wearing full pirate regalia of course) and you will get good beer (so no HEINEKEN)

    Comment by lord pasta — August 21, 2007 @ 4:35 am

  6. Hi,

    Can you explain me how to create new poll on this forum. Thanks🙂

    Comment by idnedhelper — November 8, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

  7. i did a high school test on line the other day to get my high school diplomia and it said i passed but to get it they want $299 but before i do anything i want to know for sure i tis not a scam they say they are accredited

    Comment by brandipinson — April 26, 2009 @ 4:19 pm


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