McLeroy Backs Fringe Social Studies ‘Expert’

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How can he possibly be serious? Not satisfied with the two absurdly unqualified ideologues already appointed to a so-called “expert” review panel for new public school social studies curriculum standards, Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy wants another that could be even worse. And he has been lobbying other board members hard to make that appointment.

TFN Insider has learned that McLeroy wants to appoint to the panel Allen Quist, a Minnesotan whose politics are so extreme that he suffered a humiliating landslide defeat in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor of his home state in 1994. If Quist is an “expert” in anything, it’s not in social studies. It’s in promoting the nation’s divisive “culture wars”

Quist originally made a name for himself as a radical anti-abortion crusader who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. In his 1980 book The Abortion Revolution, Quist even compares abortion to Hitler’s murder of millions of Jews.

Even before his run for governor, Quist demonstrated his obsession with sexual morality, especially regarding homosexuality and pornography. He even conducted a personal undercover “investigation” into an adult bookstore. Today he makes the rounds as a fringe anti-gay and anti-abortion speaker.

But that’s only the half of it.

Quist — who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in speech — has no academic credentials in social studies. Nevertheless, he serves as an adjunct professor at Bethany Lutheran College, a tiny and very conservative evangelical school in Minnesota at which he appears to teach one course a semester.

Styling himself as an education expert, Quist laid out his views on schooling in a 2005 book, America’s Schools: The Battleground for Freedom. The book is essentially a long, paranoid screed warning that America’s traditional values are under assault by enemies promoting, among other things, integrated math, pantheism and what he calls “transformational education.”

His wife, Julie, helps run EdWatch, a Web site that apparently seeks to expose liberalism, Marxism and other perceived threats to local control of schools and American education and values in general. EdWatch has published Allen Quist’s books, and the Web site includes a variety of his essays. Those essays offer a window into Quist’s peculiar views on education.

The Web site also includes a link to “curriculum modules” Quist has created for social studies teachers. Questions from the “modules” reveal how Quist promotes his rigid opposition to evolution and support for “intelligent design”/creationism even in social studies instruction. Some examples:

“Did dinosaurs and people live at the same time, and why do so many recently discovered ancient art works accurately picture dinosaurs?”

“How should we interpret the numerous references in ancient literature to dinosaurs (called “dragons” before 1850 AD), and what are the creatures described in Job chapters 40-41?

“What is the status of various examples of irreducible complexity, and have these examples been explained in Darwinian terms?”

“How has Darwinism influenced American law and politics?”

But Quist’s agenda extends far beyond pushing creationism in socials studies classrooms. For example, he compares the International Baccalaureate program to Marxism, calling it “un-American” and criticizing President Bush’s support for the highly respected academic program. And during his campaign for Minnesota governor, Quist let folks know about his views of the role of women in family and society:

In marriage, there is a political arrangement between the man and a wife, and in the political arrangement the man should be the head of the house. I think it’s instinctive. I know it’s true. You look in the animal world versus the human and it’s virtually universal in the animal world.

As we said, how can Chairman McLeroy possibly be serious here? Fortunately, he so far hasn’t found another board member to join him in appointing Quist to the “expert” panel. (It takes two board members to make an appointment.) Of course, Texas has many, many far more qualified academics in the social sciences, any one of whom could serve as a real expert in place of Quist. But McLeroy wants someone who shares his fringe views on politics, education and the “culture wars” — yet more evidence that the Texas Senate should reject his confirmation as state board chairman.

9 Responses to “McLeroy Backs Fringe Social Studies ‘Expert’”

  1. Joe Lapp Says:

    Just as there is a quote for any position–“quote mining”–there is an expert for any position–“people mining.”

    I’m surprised that even Texas is too small for arbitrary mining, that you need the whole U.S. to find suitable blatherers.

    This is sample bias. If the experimenter is going to preordain the outcome, there’s no sense in performing the experiment. If you cherry-pick your “experts” for a particular outcome, there’s no sense in having an “expert” panel at all.

  2. Joe Lapp Says:

    We need a bill eliminating the SBOE’s ability to choose experts. Instead, Texas schools and universities should be asked to name the experts under a system that draws a state-wide sampling of experts. Minimally, experts should come from Texas.

  3. PHarvey Says:

    TFN, be sure that every senator knows how unqualified Quist is and that McLeroy is stacking this “expert panel” with the most unqualified of “experts”.

    It’s incredible that McLeroy would do things that will irritate senaors before his floor vote next week.

  4. Ari C. Says:

    This is getting even more and more ridiculus.

    ” …I think it’s instinctive. I know it’s true. You look in the animal world versus the human and it’s virtually universal in the animal world.”

    I’m sorry Mr Quist but you do not get to tell us that we need to look at the so called similarities between the animal world and humans to “support” your claims that males are biologically determined to lead women. Only to turn around and tell us to ignore the similarities between the animal world and humans when it comes to evolution! That is hyprocritical, not that I expect him to see it that way. He must have never heard of spotted hyenas, elephants, bonobos, bees/ants and countless other matriarchal species.

    Bravo McLeroy, you have done it again, now please leave my state. Between you and Bush you are are giving us bad name.

  5. Joe Lapp Says:

    Ari, Quist isn’t in our state. He’s in Minnesota. McLeroy is inviting him to Texas. McLeroy has to reach far and wide to find like-minded wackos.

    Why can’t the lege see that something is sorely wrong if the SBOE is ignoring Texas academia to pull people from way-out? Why isn’t it obvious that McLeroy is doing his best to create trouble? McLeroy and the SBOE are way out of control.

  6. Cytocop Says:

    You know, I bet this Quist guy gets in. That’s how pessimistic I am about Texas these days.

    It’s people like this fruitcake Quist and his fruitcake cohorts like McLeroy that make me so thankful I never had children. I lack the resources to send my child to any other school but a public school. I’d need to spend hours repairing the second-rate education inflicted on my child by Texas Public Schools.

  7. Ed Darrell Says:

    But Quist’s agenda extends far beyond pushing creationism in socials studies classrooms. For example, he compares the International Baccalaureate program to Marxism, calling it “un-American” and criticizing President Bush’s support for the highly respected academic program.

    The people behind IB in the U.S. were extremely patriotic, and well-established as promoters of quality education. I was privileged to get to study the program when I served in the Reagan administration’s Department of Education — IB promoted the sort of academic excellence and rigor conservative Republicans favored in those days.

    If Quist is opposed to academic excellence and will slander fine programs in his mad-long rush to quash America’s schools, we should be clear about where he stands. The President’s Commission on Excellence in Education called such efforts part of a rising tide of mediocrity, dangerous to our national security. As the Commission said, if a foreign power were to do such things to us, we’d regard it as an act of war.

    Quist’s actions are no less dangerous. McLeroy should not be allowed to do damage to America in such a way.

  8. J. Kincaid Smith Says:

    Allen Quist is really not “fringe.” Any conservative Christian conservative would agree with him. You should remember that ad-hominum attacks like yours are less effective than really dealing with the real issues. As far as Quist’s work concerning evolution,You might read Dr. J. C. Sanford’s paradigm changing book Genetic Entropy. He is a renowned geneticist, the tenured Cornell University professor and plant geneticist who invented the “gene gun.” His solid research and findings unequivocally blow away the primary axiom of evolution. That, my friend, means that the sand that the “theory” of evolution is built upon will eventually give way and the edifice of evolution will crumble in true humpty-dumpty fashion. It will go the way of all flawed theories and false paradigms.
    Sincerely, a non-fringe supporter of non-fringe candidate Allen Quist,
    Dr. J. Kincaid Smith,

  9. Jack Miller Says:

    I’ve just returned from listening to a debate between McLeroy and Thomas Ratliff. McLeroy cited Quist as one of his experts and my wife recoiled in horror. As someone who’s trying to build a career in a social science, I certainly don’t relish the thought of teaching college students whose high school curriculum designed by Allen Quist.

    As for Dr. Sanford, he only fully rejected Darwinian evolution (or should we say “The Modern Synthesis”) in 2000. Despite his impressively long list of publications, Sanford’s paltry output regarding “genetic entropy” dates to after 2005, suggesting this research was driven by his conversion and not the other way around. Sanford’s two peer-reviewed publications addressing “genetic entropy” were both published in computer science journals and dealt with Mendel’s Accountant as a computer program, not the validity of “genetic entropy” as a biological model. I’ve had a difficult time tracking down the publishers of Sanford’s _Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome_, Ivan Press (2005 edition) and Elim Publications (2006 edition), but from their other publications, I’d venture they print mostly Christian religious literature. If you want to see the nuts and bolts of Sanford’s theory demolished, visit richarddawkins.net and search “genetic entropy.” Paradigms won’t be changing anytime soon.

    To Ari’s list of matriarchal species I like to add the praying mantis, altho’ the male does end up being the “head.”

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