Religious Right Seeks Control of Kansas SBOE

Oh, Kansas. Why must you share our suffering so?

As Texans with our own dysfunctional and often wacky State Board of Education, it’s easy for us to sympathize with Kansans, who are facing elections to their own tenuously sane state board this year.

Unfortunately, Kansans won’t have many of the moderates currently leading the board to re-elect, as they are stepping down — and far-right politicians and interest groups are ravenous to regain control by picking up the moderates’ seats.

Out of the five seats up for election this year (the board is composed of ten members total), two races have candidates who are explicitly far to the right of the mainstream: Republicans Dennis Hedke, Alan Detrich and Robert Meissner (who’s a dentist; what’s with dentists on state boards of education?). Hedke is involved with the conservative Americans for Prosperity’s tour touting “global warming alarmism.” Meissner is . . . well, let’s just let him speak for himself:

“As stated in the past, if the science community can come to a consensus as to the scientific credibility of alternative theories as to origin, then I would be open to, at least, discussing the possible inclusion of those scientifically credible theories.”

And Alan Detrich? He’s no better:

Detrich is an artist who produces sculptures that combine religious and dinosaur themes. His Web site,, includes comments that say “evil-utionist=ape-iest=malarki-ologist.”

The Lawrence Journal-World concludes that evolution is likely safe in Kansas public schools until at least 2010, when the next elections occur. That’s also a year Texans should remember. It’s when many religious-right members of the Texas State Board of Education are up for re-election, too — giving Texans a fresh opportunity to ensure the board promotes science, reading, math and other classes in Texas schools that prepare our children for a prosperous future rather than serve as vehicles for members’ personal ideologies.

[In a previous version of this post, we inadvertently listed Carol Rupe in Dennis Hedke’s place. Our sincere apologies.]

2 thoughts on “Religious Right Seeks Control of Kansas SBOE

  1. It looks like you’ve confused pro-science Carol Rupe with global warming denier Dennis Hedke. Hedke looks like a creationist/IDist trying to stay under the radar, as his website includes this:
    “4. Encourage Full Range Scientific Inquiry
    * The best science includes examination of all possible data sources and theories related to the problem at hand; it is essential that we encourage all our students, especially those in science, to be analytical thinkers
    * Climate science, origin science, behavioral science, geological science, biological and physical sciences, political science, etc., are all but subsets of the broad spectrum of scientific endeavor
    * The State BOE can be instrumental in encouraging the fullest pursuit of scientific inquiry for our students in a manner that will encourage critical thinking, and best prepare them to succeed in today’s business environment”


    Carol Rupe’s been a staunch supporter of strong science education in Kansas.