Dunbar to Head SBOE?

Could it get any worse? Could someone who despises public education soon be heading up the board tasked with managing the Texas public school system? Well, the buzz suggesting that Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, may be the next chair of the Texas State Board of Education is growing louder, writes Hearst Capitol bureau reporter Gary Scharrer for the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

Look, we were under no illusions when the Texas Senate wisely rejected the confirmation of Don McLeroy as board chair in May. We knew Gov. Rick Perry would likely choose another member of the board’s far-right faction as chair (even though there are other far more responsible conservative Republicans on the board). After all, the far-right faction represents his electoral base, which he will need in his re-election battle next year.

But surely even the governor realizes that choosing an extremist like Dunbar would be almost inconceivably reckless and irresponsible. Dunbar has clearly expressed her loathing for public education in her book One Nation Under God, calling public schools a “tool of perversion,” “unconstitutional” and “tryannical.” She has also personally rejected the public school system, home-schooling her children. In fact, she wrote in her book that sending our children to public schools is “throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

Just before the November election, Dunbar also authored a vicious Internet rant in which she called Barack Obama a terrorist sympathizer who wants to seize total power by declaring martial law. In another Internet screed, she charged that Obama is promoting Marxism by calling for “shared sacrifice and social responsibility.” (Not surprisingly, both essays have been removed from the Web sites that published them.)

By appointing Dunbar, Gov. Perry would be sending a clear message that he shares Dunbar’s extremism and her contempt for public education. He would be putting his political fortunes ahead of the education of nearly 5 million Texas schoolchildren. In short, such an appointment would be a shocking betrayal of all those children and their families.

We hope Gov. Perry won’t do something so cynical and self-serving. Frankly, we believe he’s better than that. With the next state board meeting set for July 14-17, we will likely find out soon whether we’re wrong about that.

24 thoughts on “Dunbar to Head SBOE?

  1. Gary Scharrer for the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News wrote:

    “One of the board’s more pressing tasks involves the adoption of new social studies curriculum standards for Texas public school children.

    “That’s a huge issue,” said Bradley, who expects efforts to de-emphasize the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “We will be working to making sure students are exposed to our beginnings and the fundamentals of our Republic, which we are losing,” he said.”

    Am I reading this right? Is it the Radical Right social conservatives on the SBOE that want to de-emphasize the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Am I misunderstanding this?

    1. No, the board’s far-right members believe the Declaration and Constitution have been de-emphasized in social studies classrooms. They believe an accuate understanding of both documents and their origins would “prove” that the Founders never wanted separation of religion and government.

  2. Texas is fortunate to have the Texas Freedom Network. Every state should have a similar guardian of liberty organization. If Gov. Goodhair succeeds in putting Dunbar on the SBOE, every child and every family in the state could be damaged. I care because I have a granddaughter in a Texas public school. — Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty, [email protected]

  3. Dunbar may end up being a “gift” to the moderates.

    Even though she is a very bad choice, she may be so bad that the state legislature finally acts to strip away the SBOEs real power and put it in the hands of professioanl educators.

    She would have to be a political liability in the governor’s race. She might be the darling of the far religious right, but she is repulsive to everyone else.

  4. By appointing Dunbar, Gov. Perry would be sending a clear message that he shares Dunbar’s extremism and her contempt for public education.

    While i vehemently oppose this appointment, I don’t think it’s fair to say that means he shares his views. As you stated, it does help rally the religious right for his re-election. That is more or less fact. Saying “he did this therefore he believes that” is pure conjecture. Just saying.

  5. Has Dunbar even read the Constitution? How about the Texas Constitution?


    It very clearly deals with religion in the first few sections– but note! It states that Texas is subject to the US Constitution in the very first section!!!

    How anti-intellectual fundies like Dunbar have made it this far just astounds me. I looked up the Texas Constitution in a 30 second google search. Since I can read it for myself, I can see that her claims are ridiculous.

    I’d love to see an ad on TV juxtaposing some of tripe she claims put right next to the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

  6. She comes across to me as isolated and emotionally cold in the few conversations I have heard on the SBOE. That kind of “souless seeming’ coldness scares me. I do not sense Jesus there, and I am an expert at sensing Jesus. My gift of the Holy Spirit is what is sometimes referred to as spiritual discernment.

  7. There is no doubt about the adverse effects to Texas education if Dunbar gets the appointment. She claims she wants to focus on leadership and there’s no question in what direction. But the real question is there sometning that can be done to influence the Guv’s decision?? I’ve been told that he insulates himself from the electorate. Perhaps TFN can offer some guidance/strategy.

  8. I’ll vote with PHarvey, I think the selection of Dunbar would be the best fund raiser for any of her opponents for the SBOE contest in 2010. Putting her in the spotlight as chairman and letting her spew venom will get the public’s attention and may innoculate us against her type for many years to come, if we survive it.

  9. unfortunately, even if she is a gift to KBH and thr Dems, social studies TEKS revisions will be finalize under her tenure. it scares the s**t out of me.

  10. between the stun of patriot songs I accidentally heard being sung on the televised HPBC service Sunday, and this, I think Texas government leardership has veered onto an archaic path that is not in touch. It is time for Perry, et al, to go, yesterday.

  11. “Can we truly even imagine an America under an Obama Administration? I sincerely believe that an Obama Administration would ultimately mean one thing…the end of America as we know her.”

    COMMENT: I thought the America that she and her associates once knew had already ended long ago in the 1960s, and they were trying to get it back again. Now, she is telling us that they are really about to lose what they do not have if Obama is elected President. Will these people ever make up their minds which distorted version of reality they want to cling to and be consistent.

    First, I cannot understand how we can potentially elect a man who most likely has violated the Constitution in his very attempt to serve as Commander and Chief. “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;” U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section I”

    COMMENT: You’ve been to law school sweetie. Where is your incontrovertible proof that would stand up in court.

    Rather, I perceive it [terrorist attack on U.S. soil in first six months of Obama Presidency] will be a planned effort by those with whom Obama truly sympathizes to take down the America that is threat to tyranny. What nobody seems to be discussing is the fact that if such an attack takes place, what about Martial Law? What happens to expand executive power when a state of civil disorder is declared?

    COMMENT: Oh, I get it. This is the martial law that the Christian reconstructionists have been praying will legally and benignly sweep them into power while a fundie conservative regime is in power. She is afraid it might happen on the Democrat watch and sweep in a sugary liberal ruling junta. We are 6 months out. There has been no terrorist attack and no dictatorship. Chaulk that one up to “no gift of prophecy.”

    I fear for our great nation and her potential demise should we as Americans elect Sen. Obama. I shall take no joy in saying “I told you so” if Obama gets elected. But just for the record, remember, “I told you so.”

    COMMENT: Tell that to me when every health insurance company in the nation has its throat slit (figuratively speaking of course) and 300,000,000 Americans are cheering wildly as its blood drains into the gutter. Then our nation will be great. The Obama healthcare plan cannot come soon enough for all the people I know—and I have great private health insurance.

  12. During the 81st Texas Legislature, a bill was filed to strip the SBOE of its powers, but (surprise!) it failed. It wouldn’t have mattered if it had passed, though, because Perry would have vetoed it. The Legislature meets only five months every other year. The next session begins January 2011. We’re stuck in limbo until then.

    Cynthia Dunbar has a very strong Democratic candidate opposing her in 2010: Lorenzo Sadun. He’s a professor at The University of Texas at Austin. He spoke at the SBOE public hearings on the science TEKS, but the conservatives on the SBOE are under the delusion that they know so much more than science professors and professionals.

    What a bunch of fools! And Dunbar is the biggest fool of all. She has shown again and again that she cares nothing for public education. She’d throw her own mother under the bus for her flawed ideology. She’s been doing that to our public schoolchildren and doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

  13. What in God’s name makes you think that Governor Perry is “better than that”? He will probably appoint her and give the finger to Texas public education.

  14. If she’s on the Board of Education, and she teaches in high school, she might want to learn how to spell. This is from her state website as of this morning: “Dunbar was elected to a four-yaer term on the State Board of Education in November 2006.”

  15. Texans were dumb enough to elect as Governor Rick Perry, a disgrace to his A&M education, and a believer is creationism being taught in our schools. Oh yes, Perry is of the same ilk as the right wing evangelical believers. Perry in turn was stupid enough to recommend Don McLeroy for re-appointment to Chairmanship of the State Board of Education, which the State Senate wisely failed to confirm. Perry now seems to favor appointing an even worse nut case in the form of Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond to this most important educational Board. She authored a book (One Nation Under God) which clearly shows how she wants to get more God back into the schools, Government, and the Public Square. As a right wing Christian zelot and one who views public schools as being Constitutionally illegal, this woman is the last person thinking Texans would want anywhere near the Board of Education!


    Ignorance breeds ignorance on this blog. Invoking the reference “In God’s name” in comments is ironic!

    “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” – GOD

    I also am a right wing Christian zelot and one who views public schools as being Constitutionally illegal. I agree with this woman 100%!!

    1. It’s telling that you posted this comment months after Gov. Perry appointed someone else as board chair. Moreover, Ms. Dunbar announced several months ago that she would not even run for re-election. Ignorance breeds ignorance? Do tell.

  17. I cannot truly say that I am happy or unhappy about what happened at the March SBOE meeting. I can say however, that all the members were elected to see that the educational system in Texas educates in a way that will make the kids productive members of society. I did not see this at the SBOE meeting. As for Mary Helen Berlanga from District 2, I believe she would be serving her district better if she would bring the following change- ” There are no Mexican Americans, Latin Americans, or Hispanic Americans in our country, we do have however millions of Americans of Hispanic ancestry.” This in itself would get rid of this label. I believe when you hyphenate an individual you are telling him……You are almost an American, but as of now you are not good enough. This I taught my children and they learned it well. You address them as Americans, otherwise they will ignore you.

    As for the Congressional Medal of Honor winners, I agree but she should refer to them as American Congressional Medal of Honor winners, we owe them that much. I am speaking as a veteran. When we enlisted, we served as American soldiers, when we were shot at, the enemy was aiming at American soldiers. We knew some of us would not return, but nonetherless we proudly served. You would not think that this was written by a Conservastive, but I am.

    Let’s make sure our children and grandchildren get the education they deserve and put aside ideology.

    FOR GOD AND COUNTRY……………….Pete Gonzalez