2:50 p.m. - It looks like the Texas Senate is about to begin discussion of nominations, including Don McLeroy as chairman of the State Board of Education. You can watch the Webcast here or follow along on TFN Insider. 2:55 - Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, moves to sever McLeroy from the nominations list. The request is granted, and the Senate now votes to confirm the entire nominations list except for McLeroy. 2:57 - Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee, rises to speak for McLeroy. Sen. Jackson basically reads through McLeroy's resume and then moves for his confirmation. 3:00 - Sen. Van de Putte rises to speak against McLeroy's confirmation. She notes that she is calling for the rejection of a nomination for the first time in her legislative career: "He's a decent man. He's a good man. My opposition to his position as chair has nothing to do with this man of faith and this man, I think, of internal courage and this veteran. My opposition to the chairman of our State Board of Education has to do with his management and leadership style. . . . We've been amazed by…… Read More

Confirmation of Don McLeroy as Texas State Board of Education chairman is indeed on the list of pending nominations for the Senate today. When today’s nominations come to the floor, expect a motion to sever — or remove — McLeroy from the list of other nominees. That will allow the Senate to consider his confirmation separately. You can watch the Senate live on the Internet here. TFN Insider will also be providing updates (and live-blogging, if possible).

You still have time to ask your senator to oppose McLeroy’s confirmation. Click here to find the name and contact information for your senator.Read More

We just got word that Senate Nominations Committee Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, has given a 24-hour notice on the confirmation of Don McLeroy as Texas State Board of Education chairman. That means we could finally see the long-awaited debate and vote on McLeroy’s controversial appointment Thursday afternoon.

So we decided to offer another example of McLeroy’s contempt for experts and educators. You will recall that McLeroy voted in 2008 to throw out nearly three years of work by teachers and curriculum specialists on new language arts standards. Teachers were appalled, but the esteemed dentist had his own ideas about how to teach students to read and write.

The House Public Education Committee then called a hearing to discuss what in the world was going on with the state board. McLeroy testified at the July 2008 hearing and offered a variety of explanations, including this rather odd one:

A lot of the teachers during public testimony that we had during the public hearings was overwhelming for the workgroup document. I mean, 99 percent of the time, I think. . . . We got a lot of input from teachers. The ones that were the most vocal, by… Read More

Embattled State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy has finally found a defender in the Texas Senate. Sort of.  In a story on KUT radio this morning, Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, gave something less than a full-throated endorsement of McLeroy’s competence as board chairman:

You’re talking about a chairman and a chairman’s ability to manage a meeting. I have had absolutely no indication that he hasn’t done a good job.

Well, first of all, the state’s English teachers might take issue with the claim that McLeroy presides over fair and even-handed meetings. (Is Sen. Nelson really prepared to defend McLeroy’s decision to cast aside two years of work by teachers on English-Language Arts standards and slide a never-before-seen draft under the hotel doors of his fellow board members hours before the final vote? — hat tip: Tony’s Curricublog.)

But the accuracy of this claim aside, is this really the best argument McLeroy’s defenders can muster — that  he can manage a meeting? What a spectacularly low standard for a position that wields significant influence over the curriculum for 4.6 million schoolchildren (not to mention a multi-billion dollar Permanent School Fund).… Read More

Word is that Don McLeroy‘s name is on the list of nominees distributed to state senators in Austin today. That means his confirmation as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education could come up for debate and a vote as early as this afternoon, although it’s more likely tomorrow.

We know that far-right groups have been bombarding Capitol offices with phone calls and e-mails in support of McLeroy’s confirmation. Make sure senators know that mainstream Texans are fed up with seeing our public schools dragged into the nation’s divisive culture wars. If you haven’t done so already, please ask your senator to oppose McLeroy’s confirmation. Tell your senator that this vote is a referendum on whether the Senate wants a state board chairman who promotes his own personal and political agendas ahead of the interests of Texas schoolchildren and their families. You can find your senator’s name and contact information here. Then please let us know what you hear from your senator’s office by e-mailing tfn@tfn.org.… Read More