The Senate refused to confirm Lowe’s immediate predecessor, Don McLeroy, as chair in 2009. McLeroy had been one of the leading “culture warriors” on the board. During his tenure as board chair, the state board was a divisive battleground on issues ranging from curriculum standards for language arts and science to the adoption of math textbooks.
A close political ally of McLeroy’s, Lowe has almost always voted with the board’s far-right faction. Last year Lowe supported that faction’s successful efforts to promote right-wing icons and causes in new social studies curriculum standards. Among the most alarming changes in the new standards is the suggestion that the nation’s founders never intended to keep keep religion and government separate nor to prevent government from choosing to promote one religion over all others. The new standards also attempt to justify McCarthyism in the 1950s, elevate the status of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ ideas and Confederate war heroes, and suggest that participation in international treaties and organizations is bad for America.
Lowe became chair in July 2009. Because the Legislature was not in session, Lowe’s appointment was not subject to Senate confirmation at the time. Now, however, the Senate must confirm her appointment before the end of the current legislative session in May.