Republican SBOE Candidates Duke It Out

by TFN

Republican candidates for Cynthia Dunbar’s District 10 Texas State Board of Education seat met over the weekend at a public forum in Georgetown. It appears that evolution and sex education were among the hottest topics of discussion, according to the online Williamson County Conservative Examiner. (Hat tip to TFN Insider reader abb3w for calling this to our attention.)

Austin attorney Brian Russell, the State Republican Executive Committee member recruited by Dunbar to run for the seat, explained that he believes in “intelligent design”/creationism and then trotted out the tired argument that science students should be able to “critique, evaluate, and analyze all scientific data.” Of course, no one has really argued otherwise. The issue is whether science classes will be required to teach junk science arguments against the overwhelming scientific data backing up evolution. Russell thinks they should.

Russell also argued that public schools should teach “directed abstinence,” according to the Examiner. Opponents of responsible sex education seem to have stopped using the “abstinence-only” name for programs that keep students ignorant about how to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The “directed abstinence” (or “directive abstinence”) wording suggests that supporters simply want classes to insist that students remain abstinent. But everyone believes teens shouldn’t be having sex. The issue is whether schools in a state that has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation should also be providing medically accurate information about contraception and methods to prevent the spread of STDs.

Marsha Farney of Georgetown argued that schools should teach evolution “as a theory only.” She agreed with Russell on abstinence programs but called for segregating such classes by gender.

The Examiner article wasn’t quite clear about the position of teacher Rebecca Osborne of Austin on the evolution issue. According to the article, Osborne was critical of a “disconnect between the classroom and the state board” on the issue. On sex education, Osborne called for more parental involvement and “character education” classes.

Read the full Examiner article here.