Archive for the ‘Gail Spurlock’ Category

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.

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.

SBOE Campaign Finance Reports

January 18, 2012

All Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) seats are up for election this year, but so far there’s not a lot of money flowing into those campaigns. Nearly all SBOE candidates have now filed their July 1, 2011-December 31, 2011, campaign finance reports with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Some non-surprises:

  • Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas, is again self-funding her campaign, this time in an effort to retake the District 12 seat she lost to George Clayton, R-Richardson, in 2010. So far Miller has spent about $40,000 of her own money.
  • Former SBOE member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, is spreading around a little cash (some left over from his losing race against Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, in 2010) among far-right board incumbents Charlie Garza, R-El Paso, of District 1 ($500), Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, of District 5 ($500), and Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, of District 14 ($1,801.60). He has also contributed $500 to Randy Stevenson, R-Tyler, who is trying to unseat Ratliff in District 9 and return to the board he left after 1998.
  • Neal Frey, head of the far-right censorship outfit Educational Research Analysts (founded by the late Mel and Norma Gabler of Longview in East Texas), has given $1,000 to Garza, $500 to Mercer, $1,000 to Stevenson, $500 to current board chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands (District 6), and $500 to Terri Leo, R-Spring, before the she decided not to run for re-election last fall.

Among the races that are attracting the most money (although totals are relatively modest compared to races for other elections in the state):

District 5: Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio ($15,611.75 in contributions, including $10,ooo from just one donor) vs. Steve Salyer, R-San Antonio ($1,150.00 in contributions plus a $5,000 from himself)

District 6: Donna Bahorich, R-Houston ($325 in contributions plus a $50,000 loan from herself to her campaign); no Republican challenger. None of the three Democrats (Tracy Jensen, Patty Quintana-Nisson and David Scott, all of Houston) has raised more than $1,600 yet.

District 8: Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands ($38,586.84 in contributions, $18,710.93 in expenditures, $25,626.25 in cash on hand) has raised a healthy chunk of change, but she also spent more than $12,000 (at least) on a fundraising event at a fancy country club in The Woodlands. Her Republican opponent, Linda Ellis of The Woodlands, has spent $7,019.40 so far.

District 9: Incumbent Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has raised $17,413.15 in his race against challenger Randy Stevenson, R-Tyler, who has raised $5,225, including $1,100 from his own pocket.

District 12: Incumbent George Clayton, R-Richardson, ($3,921.42 in expenditures) is trying to fend off challenges from three other Republicans: “Tincy” Miller ($41,015.65 in expenditures, mostly her own money); Pam Little, R-Fairview ($8,324 in expenditures and loans from herself of $21,500); and Gail Spulock, R-Richardson (no report posted yet).

District 15: Incumbent Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, is not seeking election. Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo ($5,614.59 in expenditures and $10,000 in loans, combined, from himself and his wife) is running against Anette Carlisle, R-Amarillio, ($23,998.19 in expenditures) in the Republican primary. Steven Schafersman, D-Midland, is the only Democrat running.

Check our SBOE Election Watch page here for a list of candidates and other info.

One Member of the Far-Right SBOE Slate

December 16, 2011

As we look at the candidates who have filed, so far, for the Texas State Board of Education, we see some indications of who will be part of the far-right candidate slate. Gail Spurlock, R-Richardson, a candidate in the crowded District 12 race, appears to be one. (Click here for a listing of candidates in SBOE races.)

The Tea Party activist’s announcement notes her membership in the Golden Corridor Republican Women’s Club in North Texas. As we reported last month, the Golden Corridor club has already tried to make the private life of one of Spurlock’s opponents, incumbent George Clayton, R-Richardson, an issue. Clayton responded to the whisper campaign by acknowledging publicly that he is gay.

In addition, posts on what appears to be Spurlock’s blog, Backyard Fence, reveal an obsession with right-wing paranoia and fringe politics. One Spurlock blog post, for example, claims that “liberals” have “been in control of education for nearly a century” and that “liberals insist the American people are stupid”:

“Then, there is the issue of evolution. If they believe in survival of the fittest as the means to perfect humanity, why are they aborting people right and left? Why do they have so few children if they think their genes are superior? Why on earth do they spend so much time trying to build self esteem in the less able by pretending everyone has equal ability when that is the antithesis of their beliefs?”

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SBOE Candidate: Gail Spurlock

December 14, 2011

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).

Gail Spurlock, District 12, R-Richardson
(Current District 12 Board Member: George Clayton, R-Richardson)

On Dec. 9, Gail Spurlock filed to run in SBOE District 12, a seat currently held by George Clayton, R-Richardson. Spurlock’s campaign website is gailfortexassboe.com.

I am running for the office of State Board of Education for District 12. There are fewer more noble activities than educating our children. As our nation has matured, the responsibility of education has migrated further and further toward the Federal Government and away from the parents, teachers and local communities. As a member of the SBOE, I hope to reverse this trend and lend a new voice to the principled, conservative values of the Board to enhance the education provided to the children of Texas.

As a parent, a perennial student and a small businesswoman, I believe that I can make a valuable contribution to these endeavors. I would really appreciate your vote and the opportunity to be your elected representative on the State Board of Education for District 12.

I am the mother of three grown children, one daughter who graduated suma cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University, and two sons. My oldest son served 6 years in the army including two tours in Iraq; and he is currently serving in the Texas National Guard. My youngest son is in his 5th year of service in the Navy as an Electronics Tech, Nuclear. While my children were growing up, they attended both private and public schools; and my youngest was home schooled for 4 years.

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