We reported in April that the creationist faction on the Texas State Board of Education was moving to pack a key “expert” review panel for the social studies curriculum revision with like-minded ideologues. (See here and here.) We now have the names of all the “expert” panelists. As with the science “expert” panel, it appears that the social studies panel will be evenly split between mainstream academics and ideologues aligned with the creationist faction.
The three mainstream academics on the panel are Jesus Francisco de la Teja of Texas State University (appointed by SBOE members Rene Nunez, D-El Paso, and Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi), Jim Kracht of Texas A&M (appointed by Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth, and Bob Craig, R-Lubbock), and Lybeth Hodges (appointed by Mavis Knight, D-Dallas, and Lawrence Allen, D-Houston).
The three ideologues aligned with the board’s creationist faction are David Barton (appointed by Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, and Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio), the Rev. Peter Marshall (appointed by Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond), and Daniel Dreisbach (appointed by Terri Leo, R-Spring, and David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna).
SBOE members Don McLeroy, R-College Station; Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas; and Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio, were unable to come to agreement on appointing a seventh panelist.
Even a casual look at the vita for each of these “experts” makes clear grossly unequal qualifications. That examination also reveals the agenda of the board’s creationist faction: use the social studies curriculum to promote a political argument against separation of church and state.
So let’s look at each of the so-called “experts” who will guide the revision of social studies standards for an entire generation of children in Texas public schools.