SBOE Candidate: Laurie Turner

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Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Laurie J. Turner, District 2, R-Corpus Christi
(Current District 2 Board Member: Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi; not seeking re-election)

Laurie Turner recently announced on her website her intent to seek the SBOE District 2 seat. That seat has been held for more than two decades by Democrat Mary Helen Berlanga, who announced earlier this year that she will not seek re-election to the board.

As a Board Member I will

– Provide leadership for South Texas Schools.
– Be a voice for parents students, and educators.
– Close the gap between high school graduates and college retention.
-Develop vocational training programs for students.
– Expand early childhood education for all children.

“It’s time that an educator had a voice in education.”

– Educator and department chair with Gregory-Portland Independent School District.
– Active community voice and advocacy for parents, educators, and local schools.
– Member of American Federation of Teachers: GPISD AFT Representative.
– Wife and mother of three attending public schools.
– Doctoral candidate at TAMU-CC, specializing in Education Law and Policy.

My goal for every student:

– Become productive citizens;
– Have confidence and skills to obtain employment;
– Be able to compete in a global society in technology, science, engineering, manufacturing, and agriculture.

7 Responses to “SBOE Candidate: Laurie Turner”

  1. Stan Says:

    This candidate failed to mention a religious affiliation. This information will help voters determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects.

  2. Fred Behnken Says:

    I concur with Stan’s comment. what is the candidate’s stand on sex education, social studies and science. Are “conservative values” code words for intelligent design and no sex education?

  3. pat Schumacher Says:

    i concur with both Stan and Fred. As these have been the hot issues, i need to now where she stands

  4. Robert A. Soper Says:

    Where does the candidate stand on the issues of science, social studies, and sex education? Is she going to be a voice for progressive education in Texas or a voice for ideological curricula as one of the religious right? We in South Texas need a person who is really concerned about our students’ educational needs so that they can indeed be competitive in the national and international relationships and economy. We need students who can really think and who are especially well prepared in science and mathematics.

  5. abb3w Says:

    The willingness for a GOP office seeker to omit a religious affiliation might optimistically suggest opposition to religious tests for government office, a promising sign itself. Wanting students to “be able to compete in a global society in technology, science, engineering, manufacturing, and agriculture” sounds like a covert pro-science agenda. I’m guessing Slightly Silly Party to Slightly Sensible Party.

    That said, Berlanga was one of the core Sensible Party voting block. While Ms. Turner doesn’t seem a harbinger of doom, I’d really like to see who the D’s field here.

  6. Laurie Turner Says:

    This is Laurie Turner and I want to thank all of you for your comments. I was so surprise to read this and excited that people view education seriously. My website has changed a bit. I am a teacher, not a politician, just a person who wants to make a difference. I am learning as I go……….try not to analyze me too harshly. On my website under forum, you can add your opinions, comments, and concerns which I encourage you to do. Also I am writing a series of essays that will focus on issues concerning education such as sex education, evolution/creationism…etc. But for now, I agree that sex education needs to expand its abstinence programs to include basic information about contraceptives. I teach at a junior high campus and there are 12 year olds,engaging in sexual activities. Two years ago I started a “Safety 1st Campaign” with Communities-In-Schools that provided information to our campus students in order to help them make better choices, in which I will provide more informaiton about on my website. I am a Christian. I belong to a Baptist church in Corpus Christi, but I believe that evolution and creationism should be taught at home. I will upload my thoughts on the issue on my website this week.

  7. abb3w Says:

    I’d like to drop a belated thank you to Ms. Turner for posting on her website her essay “Which came First: The chicken or the egg?” on her position on the evolution/creation position (which I’ve finally noticed). I would strongly disagree with her position, but am glad she’s at least tried to put it out there for clear scrutiny. (Her longer “Story of Rachel” also makes interesting reading, but seems less likely to raise significant concerns for TFN readers.)

    Oversimplifying, her position seems to be “don’t teach the controversy”. She seems to understand that trying to push creationism opens the districts and the state up to lawsuits that current precedent assures will make expensive exercises in futility. Unfortunately, she also does not understand that the Theory of Evolution is fundamental and central to biology, and thus also does not want evolution included, either.

    Key quotes: “Teaching evolution, in the sense that man evolved from apes or teaching theology, focusing on creation does not belong in public schools.” […] “I have had many discussions with different level of science teachers on the concept of evolution being taught in public schools and they all have said that this topic is not pertinent to any science course that is currently being taught in Texas schools. Right now our science teachers do not have enough time to teach the curriculum that they are required to teach as it is, let alone squeeze in evolution, starting with the beginning of time.”

    Based on this, I would classify her as Slightly Silly Party; however, it’s possible that a determined effort by educators might be able to explain the fundamental importance of Evolution to Biology, and show its inclusion can provide a framework for more systematic understanding of biology. If elected, she might possibly shift over time to the Slightly Sensible Party faction, and would almost certainly be a key swing vote.

    That said, I’d definitely prefer Cortez as a replacement for Berlanga. (Of course, I don’t live in Texas, so I don’t get to vote on the matter….)

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