Don McLeroy — the College Station Republican whose nomination as chairman of the State Board of Education the Texas Senate rejected in May — is defending unqualified, board-appointed “experts” who want important historical figures like César Chavez and Thurgood Marshall removed from social studies curriculum standards for public schools.
McLeroy is quoted in a Dallas Morning News story about reviews of the current standards by David Barton of WallBuilders and conservative evangelical minister Peter Marshall. Barton has earned only a bachelor’s degree in religious education. Marshall also has no graduate work in the social sciences. But both are prominent political activists among far-right evangelicals.
Despite their absurdly weak credentials, McLeroy told the Dallas Morning News he thinks Barton and Marshall are “very qualified” to sit on an “expert” panel guiding the revision of the social studies standards:
“There is no doubt they have the experience and expertise to advise the writing teams and the board on the standards,” he said, noting he has not yet read the experts’ recommendations.
Really? McLeroy should check out a comparison of the credentials of the six people the state board has appointed to the so-called “expert” panel. Barton and Marshall aren’t on the panel because they have the academic qualifications to know what they’re talking about when it comes to social studies education. They’re on the panel to politicize the education of Texas schoolchildren. And Don McLeroy and his far-right buddies on the state board couldn’t be happier.
Anyone not concerned about where this revision process is heading simply isn’t paying attention. The warning signs are flashing bright red.