Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

January 23, 2008

So who’s going to stop them?

Texas Ed Spectator » Blog Archive » So who’s going to stop them?

Just think, with the decision of the majority of the Texas SBOE to reject a textbook for reasons other than failing to meet basic state curriculum requirements, McLeroy now doesn’t even have to bother with the analyzing the “strengths and weaknesses” rule to reject textbooks that teach evolution. Before, the Board would have to go through the motions of documenting that the textbook didn’t demonstrate the weaknesses of evolution in order to reject the book. The Board could have demanded the publishers to include so many “weaknesses” in the textbook so as to make the evolution section appear a travesty of unscientific reasoning.

See the complete post at my new website www.texasedspectator.com.

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January 19, 2008

If They’re Allowed to do Whatever They Want, Then They Didn’t Break the Law

Texas Ed Spectator » Blog Archive » If they’re allowed to do whatever they want, then they didn’t break the law
More on the Texas SBOE’s rejection of a third grade math book. Now the majority has voted to strike the minority reports from the official record of the board’s minutes. It seems that while our San Antonio representative couldn’t bring himself to vote on the original matter, he has joined the majority in censoring the minority.
See the complete post at my new website www.texasedspectator.com.

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January 17, 2008

Because they don’t like it

Texas Ed Spectator » Blog Archive » Because they don’t like it
Rejection of math textbook sparks debate on state board’s authority | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News

The state Board of Education’s unusual decision to reject a math textbook used by Dallas and 70 other Texas school districts has evolved into a power struggle over the approval of classroom materials used across the state.

At issue is whether the 15-member state board can reject any book it wants for any reason it wants. That’s what some conservative board members, led by board president Don McLeroy, say they are allowed to do.

So much for local control.

See the complete post at my new website www.texasedspectator.com.

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December 27, 2007

Texas SBOE does not support teaching of evolution

Filed under: Don McLeroy, evolution, Texas State Board of Education — texased @ 11:19 am
Texas Ed Spectator » Texas SBOE does not support teaching of evolution
In case you haven’t heard, the Texas Education Agency has fired the agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer, for forwarding an email about a talk on evolution. It also looks like the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is seriously considering approving a program that offers a Masters Degree in Creation Science. And if you don’t think our State Board of Education lead by Creationist Advocate, Dr. Don McLeroy, is getting ready to push for eliminating the teaching of evolution from the state’s biology textbooks, consider the following:

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October 26, 2007

Teaching them to think right

MySA.com: Metro | State

Writing research papers with citations, explaining plate tectonics and probing why historians have competing versions of the past.

Such high level skills could become part of the statewide K-12 public school curriculum if state education officials adopt a draft of college readiness standards released Thursday by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

You mean that the Texas State Board of Education is willing to give it’s emphasis on indoctrination for the development of actual thinking skills? You can read more on the Board’s attempt to control “doctrine” here.

I can already see it though. McLeroy and his fellow conservatives could use this as the springboard for “teaching the controversy” about evolution and intelligent design. Somehow, it wouldn’t be appropriate to “teach the controversy” over the role of slavery in the US or something like the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. Nor, I suspect, would he be eager to teach the different approaches to reducing teenage pregnancy.

And what does he mean by the following:

MySA.com: Metro | State

“We really don’t need to do any of this for our advantaged (youth) and high achievers,” said Don McLeroy, chairman of the State Board of Education. “I look at it from the aspect of what do the disadvantaged, low achievers need? Those are the ones we want to pull up.”

Does he have evidence that students from well-to-do districts aren’t showing up in any of the colleges remedial classes? If he does, he better show it otherwise he has made the same sort of assumption about the value of money that got our former TEA commissioner to leave office.

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September 5, 2007

McLeroy accepting the standard for teaching evolution?

Filed under: Don McLeroy, evolution, Texas, Texas State Board of Education — texased @ 7:58 pm

Education board opposes intelligent design in curricula | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas Southwest

Interviews with 11 of the 15 members of the board – including seven Republicans and four Democrats – found little support for requiring that intelligent design be taught in biology and other science classes. Only one board member said she was open to the idea of placing the theory into the curriculum standards.

“Creationism and intelligent design don’t belong in our science classes,” said Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, who described himself as a creationist. “Anything taught in science has to have consensus in the science community – and intelligent design does not.”

Mr. McLeroy, R-College Station, noted that the current curriculum requires that evolution be taught in high school biology classes, and he has no desire to change that standard.

What can I say, I don’t believe him for a moment. I don’t know what his plan is but given his public record, I believe that he would never miss an opportunity to promote “intelligent design” in the science classroom.

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August 1, 2007

Making Texas schools safe for conservative dogma

Critics assail Perry’s pick to head state education board

Gov. Rick Perry named Bryan dentist Don McLeroy as chairman of the State Board of Education on Tuesday, a choice that created immediate controversy.

The Texas Freedom Network, which is often critical of social conservatives in government and politics, quickly pointed out that Republican McLeroy was among a minority of board members who in 2003 said biology textbooks should include what they considered weaknesses in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

He also voted with a board majority in 2004 for health textbooks that included little information about contraceptives, despite state guidelines saying students should be able to analyze the effectiveness of so-called barrier protection, such as condoms.

Wow. I can’t believe I missed this. While I’ve been busy helping organize a homeschool conference that would be safe for people to say that they believe in evolution, it looks Perry has been busy making the public schools a haven for those who don’t.

What hypocrites, I do mean both Perry and McLeroy. In a 2003 letter McLeroy wrote against the adoption of certain biology textbooks, he stated:

Don McLeroy’s Contemptible Strategy

In most of the books we are considering adopting, our students are not being presented both sides; the minority viewpoint is being withheld. This means that these books do not conform to our standards.

Apparently, McLeroy thinks it’s important that students have both sides of the “story” for evolution in order to make an informed decision but that’s not the case with regard to contraceptives.

What in the world was Perry thinking in appointing head of the board? Was he trying to make up to the conservative block for his disastrous HPV vaccination executive order?

Anyone interested in public education should be worried with McLeroy on the board, much less the chair. He believes that the board should be in charge of content of textbooks and his views of what that content should include are well known. Looks like the Education Research Analysts will be back in business with the Gablers’ channeling through McLeroy and pals on the State Board.

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January 22, 2007

Non-partisan elections for the State Board of Education?

Filed under: Don McLeroy, Maggie Charleton, Texas State Board of Education — texased @ 9:41 pm

80(R) HB 603 – Introduced version – Bill Text:

�������(b)��Members of the board are elected at biennial general elections held in compliance with the Election Code. A candidate’s name for the board may appear on the ballot only as an independent candidate and Chapter 142, Election Code, applies to a candidate for the board.
�������SECTION�2.��Section 1.005, Election Code, is amended by amending Subdivision (9) to read as follows: �������������(9)��”Independent candidate” means a candidate in a nonpartisan election or a candidate in a partisan election who is not the nominee of a political party. The term includes a candidate for the State Board of Education. �������SECTION�3.��Section 142.001, Election Code, is amended to read as follows:
�������Sec.�142.001.��APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. This chapter applies to:
�������������(1)��an independent candidate for an office that is to be voted on at the general election for state and county officers except the offices of president and vice-president of the United States; and
�������������(2)��any candidate for the State Board of Education.
�������SECTION�4.��Chapter 161, Election Code, is amended by adding Section 161.0031 to read as follows: �������Sec.�161.0031.��NOMINATION FOR STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION PROHIBITED. A political party may not make a nomination for the office of State Board of Education.

I thought this was an interesting bill. Would this mean that people wouldn’t get elected to the board just because they happen to be associated with one party? Maybe Maggie Charleton might have beaten Don McLeroy if both had to run as independents?

November 8, 2006

Four more years

Texas State Board of Education Election Results

    Total Percent

District 3
Tony Cunningham Rep 80,705 40.67%

Rick Agosto

Dem

117,715

59.33%
District 5
Ken
Mercer

Rep

235,561

71.16%
Bill Oliver Lib 85,463 28.84%
District 9
Don
McLeroy

Rep

189,023

59.67%
Maggie Charleton Dem 127,767 40.33%
District 10

Cynthia Dunbar

Rep

225,839

70.38%
Martin Thomen Lib 95,034 29.62%
District 12

Geraldine “Tincy” Miller

Rep

186,173

77.85%
Matthew Havener Lib 52,959 22.15%
District 15
Bob
Craig

Rep

202,730

83.82%
Brandon Stacker Lib 39,139 16.18%

October 30, 2006

Texas State Board of Education Candidates

District Democrat Libertarian
Republican
1 René Nuñez (I)    
3 Rick Agosto
  Tony Cunningham
4 Lawrence A.
Allen
(I)
   
5   Bill Oliver Ken Mercer
9 Maggie Charleton   Don McLeroy (I)
10   Martin Thomen Cynthia Dunbar
12   Matthew Havener Geraldine
‘Tincy’ Miller
(I)
15   Brandon Stacker Bob Craig (I)
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