New Faces Must Take Texas State Board of Education In a New Direction

New Faces Must Take Texas State Board of Education In a New Direction

Big Turnover in Board Membership Offers Opportunity to Move Away from Culture War Battles, Put Education Ahead of Politics

November 7, 2012

After last night’s elections, the 15-member Texas State Board of Education in 2013 will feature seven new faces and the return of another who had lost a re-election contest in 2010. Two key members of the board’s bloc of social conservatives lost re-election: incumbent Charlie Garza, R-El Paso, last night and incumbent (and former board chair) Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, in the Republican primary. A third member of that bloc, Terri Leo, R-Spring, chose not to run for re-election.

Over the past six years, the state board has lurched from one “culture war” battle to another, including divisive debates over what students should learn about evolution, climate change, civil rights and separation of church and state. The board is scheduled to adopt new science textbooks in 2013 and new social studies textbooks in 2014.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller had this to say about the elections and the board going forward:

“We can be cautiously optimistic that a board with so many new faces will learn from the self-inflicted embarrassments of recent years and focus on giving students an education that truly prepares them to succeed in college and the workforce. An early test will be the adoption of new science textbooks next year, when the board will have to choose between listening to the recommendations of teachers and scholars or to ideologues who are more interested in fighting the culture wars.”

New board members:
District 1: Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso
District 2: Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville
District 3: Marisa Perez, D-San Antonio
District 6: Donna Bahorich, R-Houston
District 10: Tom Maynard, R-Florence
District 12: Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas (Returning after having lost re-election in 2010)
District 14: Sue Melton, R-Waco
District 15: Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo

Returning board members:
District 4: Lawrence Allen, D-Fresno
District 5: Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio
District 7: David Bradley, R-Beaumont
District 8: Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands
District 9: Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant
District 11: Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth
District 13: Mavis Knight, D-Dallas


The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.