Let’s not beat around the bush. Texas State Board of Education member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, has problems with the truth. During yesterday’s debate with his District 5 opponent in the March 2 Republican Primary, Tim Tuggey of Austin, Mercer once again mischaracterized the facts about the social studies curriculum writing teams and how those teams were put together:
“There was not one single PTA in the state contacted. Not one single Chamber of Commerce was contacted. That’s why when the committees came out, there were zero moms and dads and zero businesspeople on there. And then we had conservative educators come forth and had the courage and guts to testify in written and oral testimony. The conservative historians in classrooms were also shut out of the process. So yeah there’s a problem in the process. We’re going to fix that.”
So Mercer thinks that every one of the 102 members of the curriculum teams is childless? None is a businessperson? Including those appointed by fellow board member David Bradley? Telling the truth is always a good policy — but especially when the alternative is to make a claim that’s clearly absurd and easily refuted by the facts.
Oh, and conservatives have been shut out of the process? Really?
The truth is that the curriculum teams are made up entirely of people nominated by state board members. Of the 102 curriculum writers, 67 were nominated by Republican board members. That two-thirds ratio mirrors the board’s partisan breakdown — Republicans outnumber Democrats 10-5. And none of those 67 Republican-nominated curriculum writers is conservative?
But here’s the real kicker: Mercer didn’t nominate even one of the curriculum writers. Not one.
In fact, Mercer and two others of the board’s biggest complainers about the allegedly “leftist” bias of the social studies standards — Terri Leo, R-Spring, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond — simply couldn’t be bothered to nominate anyone to serve on the writing teams. If they were so concerned about the supposed lack of participation by parents, businesspeople and political conservatives, why in the world didn’t they nominate any? Did Mercer contact any PTA in his district? Did he contact any Chamber of Commerce office?
This much is clear: Mercer and the rest of the board’s far-right faction aren’t interested in crafting good education policies. They’re on the board to throw bombs and push ideological agendas — and smearing volunteers who help write sound curriculum standards is just part of their game.