Gov. Perry Gives Parents the Silent Treatment

The usually voluble Gov. Rick Perry has made essentially no public comment about how the far-right wing of the Texas State Board Education engineered a now nationally infamous rewrite of social studies curriculum standards in May. We believe the governor’s silence represents a fundamental failure of accountability to Texas parents.

Since 2007 Gov. Perry has appointed two members of the board’s far-right faction to chair the board. The first, Don McLeroy, R-College Station, was such a disaster as chair — particularly during similarly ill-considered and highly politicized rewrites of language arts standards in 2008 and science standards in 2009 — that the Senate failed to confirm his renomination for a second term as chair last year. (The Senate’s rejection of a gubernatorial nomination is a very rare occurrence.)

Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, the governor’s appointee to replace McLeroy as chair, joined her far-right colleagues this spring in vandalizing nearly a year’s worth of work by teachers and scholars in drafting new social studies standards. She then led the board in rejecting appeals by other elected officials, educators, parents, editorial boards and even Rod Paige — President George W. Bush’s education secretary — to submit the board’s heavily revised standards to a panel of expert teachers and scholars for further review. (Gov. Perry’s Democratic opponent in November, former Houston mayor Bill White, also urged the board to submit the proposed changes to expert review.)

Many of the standards changes forced through by the state board’s far-right wing were not accompanied by an educational or other rationale; most were introduced with little or no time for other board members to review before the vote. As we have noted in the past, some decisions were based on little more than Google and Wikipedia searches by board members from their desks.

The governor’s silence on the state board’s actions is, of course, quite consistent with his overall re-election campaign strategy: avoid answering questions from the news media or other independent voices about his actions during 10 years in office, the longest tenure for any governor in Texas history. In addition, Gov. Perry has refused to meet with the editorial boards of major newspapers, refused so far to debate his general election opponents and largely avoided almost any substantive interaction with people not already in his camp. Whether or not the governor and his campaign staff think that’s a good re-election strategy is not for us to judge. Voters will render their judgment in November.

But the governor’s silence on critical issues like the State Board of Education is important to everyone interested in whether our public schools prepare Texas children to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century. Simply put: Texas parents and our schoolchildren deserve better, both from a dysfunctional and highly politicized state board and from a governor who appoints the head of that board.

8 thoughts on “Gov. Perry Gives Parents the Silent Treatment

  1. Well he did win his last term with only 36% of the vote. So maybe he will only respond 36%of the time, or to the 36% who actually voted him in.

  2. Smile. I know. Be careful walking that thin tax exempt status line TFN.

    I have a roadkill raccoon just up the road from my place today. It’s 90 degrees outside, and he is swollen up like a basketball. Rigor mortis too. Nonetheless, were I a citizen of Texas, I would vote for that coon before your Governor Perry—and I think that is being generous to the man. Just sayin’.

  3. Perry is as useful as mammary glands on a warthog.

    He’s a hold over from the bad old days when the South went Republican when the civil rights acts went through.

    The Supreme Court coronated Shrub leaving Perry as the Governor of Texas. Well, no big deal, we could always dump him at the next election, right? Hah!

    We desperately need a term limit on who heads this state.

  4. Rather than term limits, we need an enlightened citizenry that would see through his shallow “world” view and simply vote him out. I do not understand a process that allows an official to govern with only thirty-nine per cent of the votes during the last election.

  5. Just in case you wonder what the forces are that really drive the Religious Right, it ain’t Jesus. The Right Reverend Dr. Bruce Prescott has a short video about the Wrong Reverend Al Mohller that provides some insight. You may need to scroll down a few inches to the blog post. Here it is:

  6. Term limits turns government over to the appointed, anointed, and civil service and who are not elected, nor accountable to elected officials, let alone the public. The apparatchik fears the tenured elected.

    In Houston, there is a three term limit to the City Council. It takes two years to find out where the bathrooms are, another to figure out what to do there, and by that time the term limited is a lame duck. Any permanent bureaucrat that can’t dance a temporary politician for at least two terms needs to have his or her B-Badge revoked.

    It also should be noted that the Far Right think Perry is a RINO (Republican in name only) and is a sell out to the Minions of Gozer.

  7. Perry is hiding out as much as possible after having incited his base. While he’s in the lead he’ll continue to hide.
    It won’t last. Once he starts opening his mouth, he’ll start losing.
    He’s not going to win this election.
    As long as there’s sufficient voter turn-out.

  8. David, I’m gonna wait until after the election, but if you’re right, consider me as a subscriber to your newsletter!