Much of the attention tonight will focus on the Dewhurst v. Cruz senate race. But there are three Texas State Board of Education races on runoff ballots across the state as we wrap up the primaries and look toward November.

Keep an eye on this post later tonight for updates on the SBOE races. Here’s what’s on tap:

District 2 – Democratic Runoff | District Map | Down in the Valley it’s Ruben Cortez, Brownsville, against Celeste Zepeda Sanchez, San Benito. The winner faces Laurie Turner, who won the May 29 Republican primary over Veronica Anzaldua. The seat is currently held by retiring SBOE member Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi.

District 10 – Republican Runoff | District Map | In central Texas it will be Tom Maynard of Florence versus Rebecca Osborne of Round Rock. This seat was vacated by Marsha Farney, who decided to run for the state House instead. The winner of tonight’s race will face Judy Jennings, D-Austin, who lost to Farney in 2010.

District 12 – Republican Runoff | District Map | Geraldine “Tincy” Miller looks to take a step toward regaining the seat she lost to… Read More

District 12 Texas State Board of Education candidate Gail Spurlock is building a reputation for extremism that might well win her fans (and votes) among far-right conservatives. But to a large swath of mainstream Texans, her latest comments are downright insulting.

Spurlock, who has gone on record with her belief that the Pilgrims were communists and her opposition to comprehensive sex education because kids are “gonna figure it out” on their own, dropped another whopper at a candidate forum last week when she blamed women — specifically professional women — for the decline in public education.

Speaking at an Allen Area Patriots candidate forum (along with Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, Spurlock’s primary opponent in Tuesday’s Republican runoff) Spurlock used her opening statement to say the following (video below):

“I’m running because our school system has really let us down. For the past 26 years we’ve seen a steady deterioration in our academic achievement of our students — that also parallels, interestingly, about from the early 70s when women decided it’s time to go back to work, and, you know, being someone’s employee is so much more of an identity than being someone’s wife and mother. That parental… Read More

The party primary elections of May 29 decided most things, but not everything. Starting today, if you live in certain Texas State Board of Education districts, you get a second shot at making an impact on the board and on public education in Texas.

Early voting begins today, and runs through Friday, for the July 31 primary runoff elections. If you live in SBOE District 2, 10 or 12, you may have an SBOE runoff race on your ballot. You can find a listing of SBOE candidates in the runoff elections here.

Don’t know your SBOE district? Click here to find out.

Go to to learn more about the SBOE candidates headed for a runoff.

Here’s why you should care even if you don’t have an SBOE runoff where you live. Over the past five years, politicians on the state board have:

Censored what students will learn in their history classes Rejected established science Ignored the recommendations of teachers and respected scholars

And because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the board are up for election this year. That means Texans have bigger-than-usual opportunity to make major changes on the SBOE.… Read More

Will we soon be hearing cries of betrayal from religious-righters who have been warning that Muslims are using charter schools to indoctrinate Texas kids?

Campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission show that David Bradley, a leader of the creationist faction on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), received three late contributions in May to his re-election campaign from people associated with charters schools that religious-right groups claim promote radical Islam.

The contributions, which totaled $3,700, came from the chief operating officer of Harmony Public Schools, a principal at one of the Harmony schools in the Houston area and a Houston board member for an organization said to be associated with a major financial backer of those charter schools.

Groups like Texas Eagle Forum have claimed that Harmony financial backer — a wealthy Turkish Muslim man  named Fethullah Gulen who lives in Pennsylvania — is using the charter schools to indoctrinate American students in Turkish and Muslim culture. Insisting that the so-called “Gulen movement” is a radical threat to America, they almost succeeded in holding up approval of a state budget in 2011 when some legislators promoted their arguments that “Gulen schools” (Harmony)… Read More

Donna “Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution” Garner’s fiery email exchange with Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton this week included a particularly interesting tidbit you might have missed. Garner suggested a variety of reasons for supporting Gail “Pilgrims Were Commies” Spurlock as Clayton’s replacement on the board. Among them, she said, is that Spurlock is “a successful business woman who has homeschooled her own children for some years.”

So Spurlock’s decision to abandon the very public school system she wants to manage for everyone else’s kids is a plus? Of course, a number of creationists on the state board over the last few years also homeschooled their children. One, former board member Cynthia Dunbar, even called public schools unconstitutional, “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” Does Spurlock agree with those sentiments too? Read More