Archive for the ‘Steven Schafersman’ Category

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.

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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 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.

SBOE Candidate: Steven Schafersman

December 5, 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).

Steven Schafersman, District 15, D-Midland
(Current District 15 Board Member: Bob Craig, R-Lubbock; not seeking re-election)

President of Texas Citizens for Science Steven Schafersman announced via email and on his website his intent to seek the District 15 seat held by Bob Craig, R-Lubbock. Craig has announced he will not seek reelection and will retire from the board when his term ends.

Reasons I Am Campaigning for the Texas State Board of Education

District 15 is overwhelmingly Republican and this will be an uphill campaign for any Democrat, but here are the reasons I am running for the open seat.

First, I have long urged the Texas Democratic Party to ensure that good Democratic candidates run in every SBOE district to provide opposition to Republican candidates. I always disliked watching Republicans–most of whom were extreme ultra-conservatives who only wanted to push radical social agendas–win the general election with no Democratic opponent at all (but always with a Libertarian one!). I feel obliged to take my own advice now that my own district has an open seat.

Second, campaigning in a heavily-Republican district, in which a win is improbable, allows the Democratic candidate to make sure that important issues are brought before citizens so they are informed about what is happening in Austin and clearly understand what policies the different candidates support. There will be a series of campaign events, informal debates, and candidate appearances sponsored by public organizations during the coming year in which I will be able to talk to voters about these issues. I want to just make sure that the public is aware of the significant factors affecting public education in Texas.

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Liberty Institute: ‘So-Called Scientists’

July 27, 2011

The State Board of Education late last week approved science instructional materials that will be in classrooms for the next decade, a decision lauded by TFN because the materials are free of creationist anti-science propaganda. But that’s not what we’re here for in this blog post. We’re here for the sideshow that is the far-right Liberty Institute, the Texas offspring of Focus on the Family.

Prior to Thursday’s SBOE hearing, TFN held a press conference in the lobby of the Texas Education Agency building for which plenty of media showed. Aaaaand Liberty Institute’s lawyer-lobbyist showed up.

We don’t really care that he was there. It was a public building and it was a public event. But it’s what he said after the press conference that caught our attention. Approached by a reporter to get his side’s viewpoint, he referred to our speakers as “so-called scientists.”

We would normally let such a cheap swipe go, but the people we invited to speak for us took time out of their busy lives — and in one case traveled across the country — for the sake of the education of the children of this state. So, yeah, we’re going to stand up for them a little.

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