Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton’s guns are blazing in a searing email exchange that makes it clear he plans to run for re-election as a write-in candidate this November. Clayton finished third in the May 29 Republican primary for the Dallas-area, District 12 seat. Former state board member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller and Gail Spurlock face each other in a July 31 runoff for the GOP nomination against Democrat Lois Parrott. But what’s really interesting in Clayton’s emails is his open contempt for right-wingers who have used his sexual orientation as a campaign tactic against him.

Last November Clayton acknowledged he is gay after he became aware of a whisper campaign among right-wing activists questioning his personal life. Donna “Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution” Garner, a right-wing gadfly and ally of the state board’s creationist faction, subsequently withdrew her earlier endorsement of Clayton. She warned that he couldn’t be trusted to help revise new health curriculum standards — standards that cover sex education — because he’s gay.

Yesterday Garner fired off an email to her list supporting Spurlock, one of nine state board candidates who got the highest “grades” in… Read More

It’s bad enough that the State Board of Education has become a heavily politicized, dysfunctional embarrassment for Texas. Now religious-righters want control of the Texas Education Agency as well.

State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, wants Gov. Rick Perry to appoint SBOE member Charlie Garza, R-El Paso, as the state’s education commissioner and head of TEA.

Yes, that’s the same Rep. Christian whose right-wing politics are so extreme that he lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary last month. And yes, that’s the same Garza who has said creationism should be part of the “mix” of what students learn in their science classrooms. He also opposes teaching sex education in public schools even though Texas has one of the highest teen birthrates in the nation. And he goes beyond arguing that scientists still aren’t sure whether human activity is contributing to climate change. No, Garza argues that scientists aren’t sure that climate change is even happening.

But Christian — who infamously but proudly declared in 2011 that Texas legislators were engaged in a “war on birth control” — is telling right-wing activists that Garza would beRead More

Laurie Turner, Republican nominee for the District 2 seat on the State Board of Education, is sounding like yet another culture warrior who wants control over what millions of Texas kids learn in their public schools. In an opinion piece published Monday on the conservative website Texas Insider, Turner urges readers:

“(R)emember there can only be one winner: a conservative Board, or a liberal Board.  What group do you want advocating for education: one that will uphold the integrity and family values that we all share; putting education first or one that focuses on personal ideologies and social engineering as well as taking God out of education.”

Turner easily defeated her opponent, Veronica Anzaldua, in last month’s GOP primary in the SBOE district that stretches from north of Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande Valley. Anzaldua had received the highest rating in the contest on a voter guide distributed by religious-right groups. Now Turner is sounding like her defeated opponent.… Read More

Check out how Liberty Institute — the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family — is describing State Board of Education member George Clayton. Clayton, a Republican from the Dallas area, lost his re-election bid Tuesday in the GOP primary. The sneering contempt is almost palpable:

In the North Texas area, incumbent SBOE member George Clayton finally got around to being transparent about his sexual orientation, admitting his homosexuality but not until after he was elected in 2010 and in office as a Republican. Clayton was only able to garner 23% of the votes in his re-election bid.  So 77% of the voters said “no” to an incumbent moderate Republican running for the State Board of Education.

“Admitting his homosexuality”? He makes it sound as if Clayton had acknowledged a crime. Of course, the fanatics at Liberty Institute believe being gay should be a crime — the group’s president, Kelly Shackelford, has been a supporter of sodomy laws that criminalize private and consensual sexual relationships between same-sex partners. (When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Texas sodomy law in 2003, Shackelford shrieked: “There is no constitutional right to engage in homosexual sodomy.… Read More

Tuesday’s primary elections don’t seem – at this point – to have shifted the ideological balance of power on the State Board of Education (SBOE) despite the defeat of three incumbents. That’s a concern because the state board is scheduled to adopt new science textbooks in 2013 and new social studies textbooks in 2014, and both subjects have been at the center of some of the most divisive and controversial battles among board members.

The truth is we didn’t see a trend, ideological or otherwise, in the election results. Two Republican incumbents and one Democratic incumbent lost. Moreover, four of nine candidates – including one of the Republican incumbents – backed by religious-right groups lost.

On the other hand, four religious-right candidates won. Another is headed to a runoff election in July (as are Democrats in at least one race). Click here to find a full list of SBOE candidates and winners from yesterday’s elections. Below is a summary of what happened:… Read More