Search results for cynthia dunbar

It appears that Texas lawmakers are beginning to look at ways to rein in an out-of-control State Board of Education. Today state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, pre-filed a bill for the coming legislative session that would make state board elections nonpartisan.

Recent controversies make clear the need to take ideology and partisanship out of races for the state board, Rep. Howard said in a press release announcing her proposed legislation, House Bill 420:

The current system is obviously not working as well as our students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers deserve. SBOE districts are some of the geographically largest districts in the state, yet these races attract little public attention and candidates have a hard time raising money to communicate their message.  Voters go to the polls armed with minimal information on the issues and end up casting their ballot based on party affiliation.  It’s time to encourage candidates to run more independently so voters can make informed decisions.

Rep. Howard, who won election to the House in 2006 in part because of her strong support for public education, pointed to extreme partisan and ideological statements made recently by state board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. As TFN Insider readers… Read More

When listening to the claims of creationists on the Texas State Board of Education, a political thesaurus would be helpful. The board’s far-right bloc has asked the people of Texas to have a little faith. Its members are not, they claim, interested in having public school science classes teach students about creationism, “intelligent design” or any other religious concepts. At a November 19 hearing on proposed public school science curriculum standards, Chairman Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, proclaimed that he didn’t know of any board members who want science classes to do so. McLeroy and fellow creationists on the board say they’re interested only in exposing students to “scientific weaknesses of the theory of evolution.”


But that’s not what they’ve said in voter guides from the Free Market Foundation (the Texas affiliate of the far-right pressure group Focus on the Family) and, in some cases, when they were running for office.


Let’s work backward in time, shall we? Click on the thumbnail image below to see a 2008 Free Market Foundation Voter Guide for the State Board… Read More

7:54 p.m. – Once again, a creationist board member (who makes a living as a weekly newspaper editor), challenges a scientist on his knowledge of science. Really.

8:10 p.m. – Board Chairman McLeroy just said he doesn’t know of any board member who has ever advocated teaching creationism in public schools. That’s not true, and he should know. McLeroy and other creationists on the board are on the record in past voter guides as supporting teaching creationism and, later, “intelligent design” in Texas public schools. TFN has copies of those voter guides.

8:18 p.m. – Scientists testifying today have been remarkably reserved in their remarks despite efforts by nonscientists on the state board to somehow “educate” them about their failure to understand that there really are weaknesses to the theory of evolution. But sometimes their frustration is quite evident, and understandably so.

8:30 p.m. – Jonathan Saenz of the Free Market Foundation — the Texas affiliate of the far-right Christian group Focus on the Family – wants the state board to continue requiring that public schools teach “weaknesses” of scientific theories like evolution. Groups on the other side (TFN?) “want to take Texas in a completely different direction.”… Read More

4 p.m. – The State Board of Education hearing on proposed new public school science standards is finally starting. Former state board member Joe Bernal, D-San Antonio, is up first. Bernal calls on board members to listen to real science experts who object to teaching students phony arguments about “weaknesses” of evolution. It doesn’t take long for far-right board members to challenge Bernal’s comments.

Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont reminds Bernal that the state board in 1988 first adopted the “strengths and weaknesses” requirement in the science standards. Board member Terri Leo launches an attack on the TFN Education Fund’s survey of Texas university biology professors, which showed that science faculty overwhelmingly oppose teaching “weaknesses” or alternative concepts like “intelligent design”/creationism in public school science classroom. She says there has been no challenge showing that the current “weaknesses” requirement has been abused in public schools to promote religious concepts. She conveniently ignores how far-right board members (like herself) tried to force textbook publishers to water down instruction on evolution in 2003.

4:10 – Leo calls supporters of evolution “militants” and says having science classrooms teach evolution unchallenged would violate federal law. There is no such law.

Leo says… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, isn’t the only elected official who believes President-elect Barack Obama is a Marxist. A Republican congressman from Georgia, Paul Broun, apparently agrees that, by golly, he just might be a commie. He says a general proposal Sen. Obama made during the campaign to create a civilian force for protecting national security is just what the Soviet Union did.

“It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force. I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.”

He’s right, of course. He does sound crazy. But it gets worse. Congressman Broun apparently also worries that Sen. Obama is a Nazi. Really. He says Sen. Obama will ban gun ownership if he does create a civilian national security force during his administration.

“We can’t be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to… Read More