Archive for the ‘2012 Texas SBOE elections’ Category

TX SBOE Candidate Posts Anti-gay Views on FB

April 2, 2012

At least one candidate for the Texas State Board of Education seems to think that his anti-gay views are relevant to his election campaign and managing public schools. A TFN Insider reader alerted us to the following Facebook post by David Williams, a candidate for the District 3 seat on state board. His post is on the Family Research Council’s Facebook page:

“Thank you for your support for the traditional family. In 2006 through prayer and community action a gay student club was voted down by the student government at my son’s school. The Lord has given me a new mission, to run for the Texas State Board of Education. Please pray for me and thank you for being a voice up there for those of us out here.”

A reader noted his surprise by how delighted Williams is that gay students at his son’s school wouldn’t be able to form a club. Williams’ response:

“Students were given all the science facts about the origins of same sex attraction and also introduced to ex-gays who verify that change is possible. A need for a student group that promotes same sex relationships became a mute point in their opinion. Students are very capable of sound critical thinking when given all the facts and opinions on given issues. Jesus loves all of us captive to many sins, however He would also say to us all, go and sin no more.”

You can see the exchange in the photo below.

Williams is the only Republican seeking the District 3 seat. Incumbent Michael Soto of San Antonio is being challenged by Marisa Perez in the Democratic primary. All three candidates are from San Antonio.

Click here for more information about all SBOE districts, elections and candidates this year.

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Did David Barton Break the Law?

April 2, 2012

The Texas Freedom Network just sent out the following press release:

FUNDRAISERS FOR TEXAS SBOE INCUMBENT’S CAMPAIGN RAISE QUESTIONS

TFN Asks for Investigation into Whether David Barton’s Support for SBOE Incumbent David Bradley Violates State Law

The Texas Freedom Network today asked district attorneys in Harris and Jefferson counties to investigate whether a State Board of Education (SBOE) incumbent’s campaign fundraising events feature the illegal involvement of a prominent political leader who also publishes instructional materials used in Texas public schools.

Republican SBOE member David Bradley’s campaign website touted David Barton, head of a political advocacy group called WallBuilders, as a featured speaker at two Bradley fundraisers on Saturday (March 31) in Beaumont and Houston. Among the state board’ s responsibilities is adopting instructional materials for public schools. WallBuilders publishes instructional materials. But according to the Education Code, “a person engaged in manufacturing, shipping, selling or advertising instructional materials commits an offense if the person makes or authorizes a political contribution to or takes part in, directly or indirectly, the campaign of any person seeking election to or serving on the board.” Violation of the statute is a Class B misdemeanor.

Barton’s participation in Bradley’s campaign raises questions about the law as well as propriety, TFN President Kathy Miller said.

“Clearly, we think this raises serious legal questions about Mr. Bradley’s fundraising and Mr. Barton’s participation in it,” Miller said. “But it also rings alarm bells about potential cronyism and highlights how big a role politics plays in decisions about what textbooks our kids use in their schools. This isn’t just a technicality. We shouldn’t have people who are involved in creating and selling instructional materials also raising money for candidates for a state board that decides which materials will be sold to schools.”

Barton and WallBuilders have published various instructional materials used in public schools.

  • Barton is co-author of an American history textbook, Drive Thru America, that has been marketed to schools as “designed to meet state-mandated curriculum guidelines” and aligned with standards developed by the National Council for the Social Studies. The state board is set to consider proposed instructional materials for social studies in 2014.
  • Various school districts reported using during the 2005-06 school year materials published by WallBuilders, including the “American Government and Bible” video (Brady ISD); Barton’s book “Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution & Religion” and the “Foundations of American Government” and “The Spirit of the American Revolution” videos (Mineral Wells ISD); and “America’s Godly Heritage” video (Belton ISD).
  • Barton’s organization, WallBuilder Press, publishes the “New Testament Bible Study Course: Dallas High Schools” and “Old Testament Bible Study Course: Dallas High Schools,” which were originally published by Dallas Public Schools. The New Testament course book was still used in at least one Texas school district as recently as the 2005-06 school year. The Legislature passed a law laying out guidelines for public school Bible classes in 2007, and the State Board of Education subsequently adopted curriculum standards for the courses.

Bradley’s challenger in the SBOE District 7 Republican primary is Rita Ashley of Beaumont. Because no Democrat is seeking the seat, the winner of the GOP primary will be a member of the SBOE when that body approves textbooks and other instructional materials for public schools, including for science in 2013 and social studies in 2014.

SBOE Candidate: Celeste Zepeda Sanchez

March 30, 2012

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).

Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year.

Celeste Zepeda Sanchez, District 2, D-SanBenito
(Current District 2 Board Member: Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi)

Celeste Zepeda Sanchez, D-San Benito, is assistant superintendent for curriculum with the San Benito School District and is seeking the District 2 SBOE seat currently held by Mary Helen Berlanga. Berlanga is not seeking re-election. (Campaign website not yet available.)

Celeste Zepeda Sanchez of San Benito has announced her candidacy for the position of District 2 State Board of Education. Mary Helen Berlanga, a long time serving board member, has chosen not to seek re-election.

With 45 years of experience in education, Sanchez has breadth and depth of experience ranging from her early years as an elementary school teacher that followed her migrant students to Michigan providing summer classes for these Texas school children to serving as the Director of the Gifted and Talented Program at San Benito ISD, followed by a position as Assistant Superintendent with the Edgewood School District in San Antonio, Texas. She currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum with the San Benito School District where she has focused on curriculum innovation, technology enhancements, and successful efforts in external funding through sponsored grant programs.

This broad range of experience serves to inform her platform for seeking the position as a member of the State Board of Education. Sanchez proposes to focus her efforts while on the Board on issues of curriculum, school finance, and public school accountability measures.

Sanchez holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville.

“As the grandmother of children in Texas Public Schools, I want my grandchildren and all children to attend safe schools where teachers have the resources, the technology and the environment necessary for children to learn and thrive.” says Sanchez.

She resides in San Benito, Texas, and currently serves on the City Commission as well as numerous other decision making boards.

SBOE Candidate: David Williams

March 28, 2012

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).

Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year.

David Williams, District 3, R-San Antonio
(Current District 3 Board Member: Michael Soto, D-San Antonio)

David Williams, an algebra teacher at a private school in San Antonio, has announced he will run for the District 3 SBOE seat currently held by Michael Soto. Williams’ website is davidwilliamsdistrict3.com.

David had the privilege of receiving certification and teaching Starbase Oklahoma, an aerospace education course sponsored by the Oklahoma Air National Guard for 7 years. He also worked three summers as an educator portfolio assessor for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He coached the Southwest Oklahoma Math Counts All Star Team in 2007.

Before starting his career in education, David served four years in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman and aviation medical technician, two of his assignments serving marines. An eighteen-year career in the United States Army followed, attaining the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Three. Tours of duty included infantry, armor, artillery, and maintenance battalions. He is a Persian Gulf War veteran. He is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and served as a mentor for the national Troops to Teachers program for eight years while teaching.

In 1993 while still on active duty David taught four, eight-week sessions of a moral development course at the military correctional facility on Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1994 he taught automotive maintenance for Central Texas College at Camp Casey, Korea for the fall semester.

David’s interest in education has been a life priority for many years, regularly volunteering to teach in the local church as the family grew. He has been a deacon, nursery worker, and Bible teacher for elementary children, middle, high school, collegiate, and adult classes. David is a small group leader for Focus on the Family’s, The Truth Project. Since returning to Texas he and Deborah have attended Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

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SBOE Candidate: Veronica Anzaldua

March 27, 2012

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).

Click here to go to TFN’s SBOE Election HQ, with in-depth information about state board districts, elections and candidates this year.

Veronica Anzaldua, District 2, R-McAllen
(Current District 2 Board Member: Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi)

Veronica Anzaldua of McAllen has announced that she will seek Republican nomination for the Texas State Board of Education in District 2. The seat is currently held Mary Helen Berlanga, who has decided not to seek re-election. Anzaldua is a high school educator in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District and her website is voteveronica.com.

MY PHILOSOPHY

I AM SOCIALLY CONSERVATIVE
1. I believe LIBERAL influence should be kept to a minimum. What does this mean? I want curriculum for students to reflect actual facts about history, science, economics etc. and not one modified to suit political correctness and liberal bias.

2. I operate under a Christian world view as opposed to a secular world view. What does this mean? I believe God has a role in the lives of men and women on a personal level and the affairs of mankind in general.

I AM FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE
1. I believe the smallest and most efficient budget should be used. What does this mean? If the economy shrinks, all state agencies should shrink as well to maintain equilibrium. Each agency should strive for the smallest budget so the State can tax as little as possible.

2. I am against pet projects. Any projects undertaken through the State Board of Education should benefit all districts and not favor just a few districts.

3. I believe in a minimalist governmental role. What does that mean? Hands off and free choice are better than extensive control through the agency. Local control is the best choice for schools to implement and administer curriculum and school policy as long as it follows the curriculum approved by the State Board of Education and the laws of the State of Texas.

INSTITUTING CONSERVATIVE VALUES
1. In 2011, the debate on the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in schools is one that the State Board of Education conservative members lost. I would have voted to include the theory of Intelligent Design as well as the theory of Evolution in the curriculum. “Education” is presenting both sides of an issue. “Indoctrination” is presenting one view with bias.

2. My stated values would be part of the decision process in acting as a representative of constituents’ views (State Board of Education, District 2) in determining curriculum issues; however, contrary outside influence or influences that benefit only a special interest or interests would play only a minor role at best.

TX SBOE District 15 Candidates Talk Sex Ed

March 21, 2012

Someone needs to educate Marty Rowley about sex education.

Speaking on Tuesday at a candidate forum with Republican primary opponent Anette Carlisle, the Texas State Board of Education District 15 candidate explained why he supports an abstinence-only policy on sex education:

“I believe if we pass out condoms at schools we’re saying, ‘Yeah, we’re teaching you about abstinence, but we know you’re not going to pay attention to it, so here’s a condom to make sure that you don’t get pregnant.'”

Good grief. The issue isn’t about passing out condoms to students. In fact, state law bars public schools from distributing condoms as part of sex education classes. But it doesn’t bar schools from teaching students medically accurate information about contraception and STD prevention. Moreover, 80 percent of likely Texas voters, according to our 2010 statewide poll, support giving high school students that information along with emphasizing the importance of abstinence in sex education classes. And evidence shows that sex education actually gets teens to wait before starting to have sex.

Yet most school districts in Texas — a state with one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation — teach abstinence-only or nothing at all about sex education (although we’re making progress in changing that). Abstinence-only advocates like Rowley try to scare parents into believing that teachers would otherwise be handing out condoms like it’s Halloween candy.

Speaking at the same candidate forum, which was sponsored by the Amarillo Tea Party Patriots, Carlisle said she supports an “abstinence-based” approach to sex education:

“I certainly believe in opt-out for parents if they don’t want their students in there. We need to give them knowledge so they don’t become victims of bad choices.”

Rowley and Carlisle are seeking election to the state board seat currently held by Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, who is leaving the board at the end of the year. Rowley is an attorney and former church pastor. Carlisle is the Amarillo school board president.

Rowley has been touting his support from members of the state board’s far-right bloc, including current board chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, and former chair Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas. Carlisle has a rather extensive list of endorsements, including support from current Republican board members Bob Craig and Thomas Ratliff  as well as local school board leaders and other education folks throughout West Texas.

While Rowley’s campaign website veers into areas like his anti-abortion views (an issue over which the state board has no authority at all), Carlisle’s website appears focused on education rather than “culture war” issues.

Steven Schafersman of Midland is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Click here for his campaign website.

You can learn more about all SBOE races and candidates at TFN’s election online HQ here.

David Bradley Goes Courting

March 20, 2012

Like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst this month and Gov. Rick Perry for years, David Bradley is courting conservative evangelical pastors in his bid for re-election to office.

Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, will speak on March 27 at a luncheon for the Beaumont Area Pastor Council, which is affiliated with the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council. From a Pastor Council email today:

“David has been a bulwark against liberal forces who want to rewrite our history books and insert liberal causes into school curriculum. These forces are also working diligently to get access to the Permanent School Fund for their own agendas.”

Bradley supported new social studies standards in 2010 that even the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute criticizes as a “political distortion of history” with “misrepresentations at every turn.” One of the most divisive voices on the state board, Bradley also opposes sex education, wants to dumb-down instruction on evolution in science classes and rejects teaching social studies students that the Constitution protects separation of church and state. In 2008 he boasted that the state board “spanked” teachers who disagreed with its controversial decisions on curriculum standards. But the Pastor Council emails praises Bradley as supposedly being “on the front lines for our children and grandchildren.”

Bradley faces Republican Rita Ashley of Beaumont in the Republican primary on May 29.

Read more about the State Board of Education elections this year at TFN’s SBOE election online HQ.

TFN Launches SBOE Elections Online HQ

March 15, 2012

Ignorance isn’t a Texas value, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the State Board of Education.

The state board approves textbooks and curriculum standards for Texas public schools. That’s a lot of power. But for years now, right-wing ideologues on the board have censored American history, rejected established science and ignored the recommendations of teachers and scholars. In fact, far-right board members have rallied around former board chair Don McLeroy’s bizarre declaration that “somebody’s gotta stand up to experts!”

For supporters of public education, it’s been maddening. And for most Texans, it’s been downright embarrassing.

So enough. It’s time for a new State Board of Education.

Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the state board are up for election this year. To help educate voters about the board and how they can work to change it this year, the Texas Freedom Network today launched an online SBOE Elections HQ (tfn.org/educate). There you’ll find information about the board and its history, candidates in this year’s elections and an electoral analysis of each state board district.

More importantly, you can sign on to a pledge to help change the state board this year. TFN will give you the resources you need to get informed about the state board, talk to friends and family about the board elections this year and vote for candidates who will focus on kids, not politics and personal agendas.

So take the pledge and work this year for a new State Board of Education in Texas.

David Bradley Rejects ‘Local Control’

March 7, 2012

The Texas Republican Party has long trumpeted a defense of “local control” for communities and school districts against what it sees as the abusive authority of federal and state government. In fact, the state party’s official platform makes it explicit, particularly when it comes to public education:

We support school choice and believe that quality education is best achieved by encouraging parental involvement, protecting parental rights, and maximizing local independent school district control. District superintendents and their employees should be made solely accountable to their locally elected boards. We support sensible consolidation of local school districts. We encourage local ISDs to consider carefully the advantages and disadvantages of accepting federal education money.

But State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, a ringleader of the board’s far-right faction, thinks local communities don’t know how to run their own school districts. Here’s what he had to say at a candidate forum on Monday:

“Everyone likes to say ‘local control,’ but left unchecked, sometimes people don’t always do the best jobs.”

Bradley has served on the state board since the 1990s and is seeking re-election this year. He certainly hasn’t been shy over the years about criticizing the federal government for supposedly meddling in local decisions about education. But he seems all in favor of a top-down approach when it comes to the relationship between the state board on which he sits and local school boards. Apparently, Bradley thinks local folks are fools who just can’t be trusted to know what’s best for their own kids.

TFN’s SBOE election watch page includes more information on candidates and districts in the 2012 elections.

Another SBOE Candidate Stands Up to Experts!

March 6, 2012

At least one candidate for the Texas State Board of Education apparently agrees with former board chairman Don McLeroy’s infamous demand that “somebody’s gotta stand up to experts!”

An email — apparently from the Collin County Conservative Republicans PAC — includes a questionnaire and answers from state board candidate Gail Spurlock, R-Richardson. One of the questions:

Do you think that our current textbooks are based upon facts? Are they politically unbiased? Comment, please.

In her answer, Spurlock expresses concerns that Texas hasn’t yet adopted new social studies textbooks based on curriculum standards the state board approved in 2010:

“Most of the ‘old’ Social Studies textbooks were written by college professors, and it is well known that the largest percentage (90+) of these professors are liberal Democrats. It has been my general observation that Democrats impose politics on everything. This is one of the reasons for all of the work that was recently done by the SBOE and by the many volunteers who were involved in the public hearings to improve curricula.”

Is Spurlock suggesting that the state board reject textbooks written by college professors? Who in the world does she think should write them? Amateurs and political propagandists like David Barton? Politicians on the state board?

And Spurlock’s claim that “Democrats impose politics on everything” is laughable considering the state board’s heavily politicized rewrite of the social studies standards two years ago. The conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute has called the board’s new American history standards a “politicized distortion of history” with “misrepresentations at every turn.” In the introduction to its report about those standards, Fordham explained that the right-wing majority on the state board “displayed overt hostility and contempt for historians and scholars, whom they derided as insidious activists for a liberal academic establishment.”

Apparently, Spurlock’s contempt for expertise would help her fit right in.

Read more about the candidates and state board districts on our SBOE election watch page here.

Clayton Seeks SBOE Re-election After All

March 2, 2012

Texas State Board of Education incumbent George Clayton, R-Richardson, has decided to seek re-election to his seat after all. Clayton had announced on Monday that he would seek election to the District 112 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. In an email to a Dallas Morning News reporter today, however, Clayton says that the new court-ordered map of state House districts doesn’t include his residence in District 112:

“I had planned to withdraw from the SBOE race to run for House district 112. Unfortunately, the courts drew me out of that district. So, I cannot run for the house seat. I will remain a candidate for reelection to SBOE District 12.”

Clayton is opposed by three other Republicans in the GOP primary and one Democrat. The Texas Freedom Network’s SBOE election watch page includes lists of candidates as well other information on state board districts.

SBOE Candidate Gets Far-Right Endorsements

February 29, 2012

Five of the Texas State Board of Education‘s far-right bloc have endorsed Marty Rowley of Amarillo in the Republican primary for the District 15 state board seat. Rowley’s campaign blog says board Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands; former chair Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas; Charlie Garza, R-El Paso; Terri Leo, R-Spring; and Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio have “unanimously” endorsed him. We don’t know what he means by “unanimous”: a sixth member of the board’s far-right bloc, David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, is not on the list of endorsers. (All of the board’s far-right members except Leo are seeking re-election this year.)

Rowley is seeking the board seat currently held by Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, who is not seeking re-election. Anette Carlisle, president of the Amarillo Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, is also running for the Republican nomination for that seat. Steven Schafersman of Midland is the lone Democrat running for the seat.

The Texas Freedom Network’s SBOE Election Watch page includes more information about the board elections and candidates.

(Thanks to TFN Insider reader abb3w for the heads-up.)

SBOE Member Clayton Not Seeking Re-election

February 28, 2012

Yesterday Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton, R-Richardson, unexpectedly announced that he will not seek re-election to his seat. Clayton said he will instead seek election to the Texas House of Representatives.

Clayton won a surprise victory over longtime incumbent Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas, in the 2010 Republican primary for the District 12 state board seat. Religious-righters on and off the board have been critical of Clayton, who has generally voted with the board’s mainstream Republican bloc. Clayton publicly acknowledged last fall that he is gay after far-right groups like Golden Corridor Republican Women promoted a whisper campaign targeting his private life.

Clayton’s decision not to seek re-election leaves three Republicans — Miller, Pam Little of Fairview, and Gail Spurlock of Richardson — and Democrat Lois Parrott of Dallas in the race for the District 12 board seat.

Check out TFN’s SBOE election watch page for more information on candidates and board districts in the 2012 elections.

Going to Her Base

February 16, 2012

Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, is trying to lock up her religious-right base in her race for re-election this year. In an email today, the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council is touting Cargill’s planned speech on March 1 at the Montgomery County Pastor Luncheon:

“The Texas State Board of Education has been in the national media repeatedly in the past several years over our stand for protecting history textbooks from political correctness, teaching both strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, and now over the assault by allies of Planned Parenthood to undermine Abstinence Based sex education.

Hon. Barbara Cargill is now the SBOE Chairman and one of the courageous conservatives who has withstood intense attacks by anti-religious groups such as Texas Freedom Network, ACLU and others. YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM HER as to why there is such a battle for control over Texas education and what we need to do this year!”

TFN is an “anti-religious group”? That would certainly surprise the clergy leaders who serve on our board as well as the hundreds of others who participate in our Texas Faith Network.

We do, however, oppose the religious right’s use of faith as a political weapon. That’s why we called out Cargill when she declared that there were only “six true conservative Christians” on a State Board of Education in which nearly all of the 15 members are Christians and certainly more than six are “conservative.”

It’s also why we have called out the head of the Houston Area Pastor Council, Dave Welch, when he has said such vile things as this during the State Board of Education’s 2010 debate over an anti-Muslim resolution:

“Once again, my guns are aimed at the pathetic preachers, pitiful pastors and compromised clergy that TFN, AU, ACLU and their ilk trot out as props for their leftist agendas. They disgust me. Their list of ‘nearly 100 religious leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths’ who signed a letter opposing the resolution represents a tiny cadre of liberals who have all rejected the fundamentals of their own faiths…. It was my joy to testify at the hearing and represent the hundreds of ‘real’ pastors around this state we speak for as well as all those who share our values but have not yet suited up for the game.”

We hope the lunch is nice, Ms. Cargill. Please say “hi” to Pastor Welch for us.

Follow the candidates and issues in this year’s State Board of Education elections on TFN’s special SBOE Election Watch page here.

Ed Board Candidate Decries ‘Evolution Agenda’

February 15, 2012

With the Texas State Board of Education set to adopt science textbooks for public schools in 2013, this year’s state board elections are especially important. On Tuesday one state board candidate, Republican Marty Rowley of Amarillo, made it pretty clear that he would be part of the board’s anti-science faction if elected.

Check out the post on his campaign blog titled “The Evolution Agenda in Schools.” Rowley argues that new science curriculum standards adopted by the state board in 2009 got low marks in a recent review from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute because the board had “the audacity to allow Texas schoolchildren to look at evolution as a theory instead of an indisputable fact”:

“(W)hile I don’t dispute that evolution should be taught to Texas schoolchildren, which our science curriculum apparently adequately does, I believe it is a theory, and nothing more than a theory. And if we want to turn out thinking, analytical Texas graduates, they should be allowed to view evolution in the light of the strengths and weaknesses it possesses. I say, let’s teach scientific theories, including evolution, let them stand on their own merit, and let our students make their own well-reasoned decisions as to what they believe to be the truth.”

Mainstream science long ago debunked creationists’ arguments about phony “weaknesses” of evolution. Even the State Board of Education in 2009 rejected a curriculum requirement that students study so-called “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. Still, creationists seeded the new science standards with other measures they hope will undermine teaching about evolution.

This year’s state board elections are critical to the future of public education in Texas. All 15 seats, including the one Rowley seeks in West Texas, are up for grabs. Learn about the board districts, candidates and issues on TFN’s SBOE election watch page here.