Gail Lowe's Revenge? Defeated Texas Education Board Member Helped Stack Textbook Review Panels with Creationists

So how did at least six evolution deniers get placed on panels charged with reviewing proposed new biology textbooks for Texas public high schools? Look no further than the corrosive influence creationists have had over the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for years.

When Gail Lowe lost her bid for re-election to the state board in 2012, supporters of science education in Texas had good reason to cheer. During Lowe’s time on the board, the Lampasas Republican and other creationist board members helped turn debates over curriculum standards and textbooks for public school science classes into heated “culture war” battles. (See here, for example.) And that in turn helped make Texas appear to the rest of the country as a hotbed for anti-science fanaticism.

But even with Lowe no longer an SBOE member, she’s still influencing the board’s adoption of new science textbooks and other instructional materials this year. Before leaving the board at the end of 2012, Lowe nominated at least nine of 28 individuals whom the Texas Education Agency (TEA) invited to participate on the biology review panels this year. Of those nine, at least five are creationists: Raymond Bohlin of Probe Ministries; retired Baylor University engineering professor Walter Bradley; Texas A&M chemistry professor Daniel Romo; finance consultant and former Dallas Baptist University business school dean Ide Trotter; and Austin systems engineer Richard White. Bradley, who helped launch the “intelligent design” movement in the 1980s, and Bohlin are also fellows for the anti-evolution Discovery Institute in Seattle.

A sixth known creationist on the biology textbooks review panels, private school teacher David Zeiger, was nominated by creationist SBOE member David Bradley, R-BeaumontBuna. We’re still researching the science backgrounds and views of other reviewers nominated by SBOE creationists.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Lowe to serve as SBOE chair in 2009 after the state Senate failed to confirm the appointment of her predecessor, fellow creationist Don McLeroy, to that post. The Senate refused even to take a vote on Lowe’s nomination in 2011, forcing her to step down as board chair. She then lost the re-election race for her seat in the 2012 Republican Primary. But Lowe was still allowed to nominate individuals to serve as reviewers for this year’s adoption of new science textbooks. She used that opportunity to try to stack the textbook review teams with people who want Texas students to learn that modern science is wrong and evolution is a lie. What a legacy.

The state board is scheduled to hold its first public hearing on the textbooks at its September 17-20 meeting in Austin. The board has scheduled a final vote on which textbooks to adopt for November.

If you want students to learn real science in their science classrooms — not discredited creationist arguments that will leave them unprepared for college and the jobs of the 21st century — then join thousands of Texans who have signed our Stand Up for Science petition here. The Texas Freedom Network will keep you informed about the textbook adoption this year and what you can do to stop anti-science fanatics from undermining the education of Texas kids.

13 thoughts on “Gail Lowe's Revenge? Defeated Texas Education Board Member Helped Stack Textbook Review Panels with Creationists

  1. Why is the state of Texas cursed with these ignorant jerks? I have 4 grandkids who I want to be well educated. We progressive people need to stand up to these creationist myth monsters and get them out of the Texas School Board. Enough of their ignorance!!

  2. They are ruining our kids’ chances at competing with the rest if the world! Learn what scientific principal is before messing with the curriculum! Tell me one country that’s ahead of the pack in both economic and scientific advancement that has a “religious based” science curriculum? Ridiculous!

  3. Children raised on a Biblical foundation, especially those who go on into the medical field, still need a basic understanding of theories which they may not agree with. This is pandering to base ignorance and anti intellectualism more than it serves any possible concept of an omnipotent God.

  4. Such a frustrating, bizarre thing to happen not long after the embarrassing idiocy of the Texas SBOE was laid out for everyone to see on PBS television nationwide. I tell you, I love what paleontologist Kevin Padian has to say about these types of jokers and pretenders on the panel; you’d think that an engineer and a chemist asked to be a reviewer for a BIOLOGY textbook would have enough professional integrity to turn down such a misapplied invitation.

  5. As a minister of the United Methodist Church for over 50 years (the last ten retired), I have always believed, taught, and preached that there is a profound difference between faith/belief and science. Faith proclaims “why” God created the world and all that is in it, and science teaches us “how.” And, both are ongoing events in our faith and learning. Creationism is anti-faith, anti-religion, anti-American, anti-science, and anti-rational thinking. Beside all that, ignorance is substituted for intelligence. It is a gross heresy that, along with the demise of responsible behavior of the “tea party” demons and others in our political system, is destroying this nation from within.
    The Rev. Bert Clayton

  6. Let’s also remember that back in 2010, the Democrats were so satisfied with McLeroy’s leadership of the flat-earth block, they didn’t even file against him. Fortunately a Republican did and won the primary. Ratliff is now the leader of the pro-science block on the SBOE. If we have to depend on Republicans for support for science, we are in trouble.

    Oh yes, there was also a Green in the race, but there was a total media black-out on him, including a Dallas News denial he was a candidate. Still got 7,411 votes though, in a gerrymandered district that ran from three counties on the Red River to one just one county from salt water.

  7. Lowe is dumber than a sack of hammers.
    Her “advisors” are unintelligible anyway,
    and other than messing up the wording in some textbooks, they won’t get their magical, mystical science into any texts.

  8. If I were a young parent living in Texas, I’d be looking for a job in a state that doesn’t promote ignorance in public schools. Thank goodness that my daughter got her excellent public school education here in Texas before the fundies and Teapublicans took over the state. I’m disgusted by Texas.