Could it get any worse? Could someone who despises public education soon be heading up the board tasked with managing the Texas public school system? Well, the buzz suggesting that Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, may be the next chair of the Texas State Board of Education is growing louder, writes Hearst Capitol bureau reporter Gary Scharrer for the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.
Look, we were under no illusions when the Texas Senate wisely rejected the confirmation of Don McLeroy as board chair in May. We knew Gov. Rick Perry would likely choose another member of the board’s far-right faction as chair (even though there are other far more responsible conservative Republicans on the board). After all, the far-right faction represents his electoral base, which he will need in his re-election battle next year.
But surely even the governor realizes that choosing an extremist like Dunbar would be almost inconceivably reckless and irresponsible. Dunbar has clearly expressed her loathing for public education in her book One Nation Under God, calling public schools a “tool of perversion,” “unconstitutional” and “tryannical.” She has also personally rejected the public school system, home-schooling her children. In fact, she wrote in her book that sending our children to public schools is “throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”
Just before the November election, Dunbar also authored a vicious Internet rant in which she called Barack Obama a terrorist sympathizer who wants to seize total power by declaring martial law. In another Internet screed, she charged that Obama is promoting Marxism by calling for “shared sacrifice and social responsibility.” (Not surprisingly, both essays have been removed from the Web sites that published them.)
By appointing Dunbar, Gov. Perry would be sending a clear message that he shares Dunbar’s extremism and her contempt for public education. He would be putting his political fortunes ahead of the education of nearly 5 million Texas schoolchildren. In short, such an appointment would be a shocking betrayal of all those children and their families.
We hope Gov. Perry won’t do something so cynical and self-serving. Frankly, we believe he’s better than that. With the next state board meeting set for July 14-17, we will likely find out soon whether we’re wrong about that.