Hypocrite Alert: Texas Ed Board Member Ken Mercer Blames ‘the Left’ for Curriculum Changes HE Passed

Members of the creationist bloc on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) have mistated the truth so often that they can’t even keep their own distortions straight. Case in point: Speaking on Saturday at the “Texas Freedom Rally at the Alamo” in San Antonio, SBOE member Ken Mercer told Tea Party activists some real whoppers about the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools two years ago. He claimed that education bureaucrats had been trying to use the standards to promote a far-left agenda. The Gonzales Cannon quoted Mercer’s comments:

“A parent came forward to me and showed me they had deleted the words ‘free enterprise’ and ‘free market’ from economics [standards]. They told me this was because those words were ‘too positive’ in describing the American economic system.”


From the minutes of the March 2010 SBOE discussion of the social studies standards (page 16 of the meeting minutes):

“MOTION AND VOTE: It was moved by Mr. Mercer and seconded by Ms. Leo to recommend that the State Board of Education strike the parenthetical terms ‘(capitalist, free market)’ wherever they appear in the social studies TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills] document. The motion carried.”

That’s true. Check this video clip from the meeting:

Here’s Mercer from the meeting:

“I’m going to offer this tomorrow for all items…. But we discussed about U.S. free enterprise. We had the parenthetical, it says ‘(capitalist, free market).’ I would like to strike, open paren, ‘capitalist, free market,’ open [sic] paren. I would strike that. It would just read, ‘Compare the role of government in the U.S. free enterprise system and other economic systems.”

That wasn’t Mercer’s only whopper on Saturday. The Gonzales Cannon also quotes him as saying:

“They wanted to delete Veteran’s Day and Independence Day from the history books. They had a problem with the Liberty Bell and the word “patriot,’ because they thought it sounded too much like the Tea Party.

Actually, the curriculum writers who crafted the initial drafts of the standards never said they wanted to delete Veteran’s Day, Independence Day and the Liberty Bell from history books. Moreover, we have never heard anyone even suggest — until now — that the curriculum writers thought “patriot” sounded too much like the Tea Party. Unless he can point to some evidence for his claims, it’s hard not to conclude that Mercer is simply making stuff up. Frankly, he owes an apology to the teachers and scholars who worked diligently (at no pay) to draft the standards that Mercer and other SBOE members then vandalized.

In fact, if anyone is wondering who really politicized the curriculum standards that are now guiding the education of millions of Texas students, the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute made that pretty clear:

“Texas’s heavily politicized 2010 revisions to its social studies curriculum have attracted massive national attention. Indeed, both in public hearings and press interviews, the leaders of the State Board of Education made no secret of their evangelical Christian right agenda, promising to inculcate biblical principles, patriotic values, and American exceptionalism. And politics do figure heavily in the resulting TEKS.”

We wonder: do Tea Party activists like being lied to? Pants on fire, Ken.

4 thoughts on “Hypocrite Alert: Texas Ed Board Member Ken Mercer Blames ‘the Left’ for Curriculum Changes HE Passed

  1. These “culture warriors” on the SBOE are only a symptom of the disease. The real sickness is that people VOTE for them. I voted early yesterday. Best of luck to Rebecca Osborn.

  2. I posted a rebuttal on the Gonzales Cannon website using the information provided here.

  3. This makes me want to cry or scream or both. My husband and I just moved back to Austin a few weeks ago and found out over the weekend that it is none other than the abhorrent and reprehensible Mr. Mercer himself now representing us in the SBOE. I wouldn’t trust this man to write out my grocery shopping list, MUCH LESS my child’s biology textbook.

    Yet he has the infuriating AUDACITY to claim on his self-promo fan page:

    “Together, won huge battles for…world class science standards…[and] U.S History that honors our American founders, traditions and values.”

    OH. MY. GOD.

    And THEN, get this, he concludes that last statement with with the following gem: “[P]olitical and historical revisionists – Adios!”

    Again… SERIOUSLY?! If I were Christian, this is surely the part where I would thrown in something to the effect of “Burn in Hell, Mr. Mercer.” Luckily for him I am not and happen to have a bit more class than that would require; it is, however, one of those rare moments in life I wish I had a little less.

    If I have to personally go knocking on every door in every neighborhood in the entire district between now and November to get this man out of office, I will gladly do it. Any and all help in that endeavor is more than welcome.

    On a related note, my heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you at TFN for providing the megaphone by which the voice of reason is heard. Without you guys here we would’ve long ago become nothing more than whispers in the wind, muffled out entirely by the endlessly screaming stream of dogmatic lunacy. It is appreciated much more than any of you will ever know.

    P.S. I posted a rant to my student government blog over the weekend concerning the SBOE you might enjoy. Naturally, numerous hyperlink-citations in the commentary refer readers to various TFN pages, but please let me know if there is some way to include an ad or widget of some kind that leads back to you guys in a more direct or visible manner. Granted, no one sees it but my classmates and a handful of friends, but every little bit helps, right? 🙂

    (Also, please let me know if I’ve misstated anything there. I, unlike Mr. Mercer and Co., *do* value honesty and integrity.)

    Thanks again!