Check out this fascinating Q-and-A with Texas State Board of Education member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, from The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto.

Money quote:

“Look, down here there are these groups from the far left. Whatever we do, they want to make it look like we are dumb morons. They’re very effective, dadgummit. Jefferson’s name was taken out of a list of Enlightenment philosophers in world history because he didn’t fit the period of the Enlightenment.”

Words fail us. So we’ll again let a real historian respond:

“There is absolutely no question that Jefferson is an Enlightenment figure of the first order.”… Read More

On Thursday Don McLeroy once again had difficulty explaining why the Texas State Board of Education has made so many bone-headed decisions in overhauling social studies curriculum standards for public schools. McLeroy, a College Station Republican who lost his bid for re-election to the board in the GOP primary earlier this month, spoke to listeners of On Point, a program produced by Boston NPR station WBUR. (Hat tip to TFN Insider reader James F for the heads-up about the show.) McLeroy had a particularly hard time justifying why in the world the board removed Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about Enlightenment thinkers. In fact, he suggested adding Jefferson back in to the world history standards. But along the way he inadvertently admitted spending so much time wrecking the rest of the standards document that he really didn't realize taking Jefferson out in the first place was foolish. "Actually, when you're in the process of making lots of amendments, you're busy, you're all day long. When you have time to reflect, maybe you'll change your vote. I think all politicians do that." Indeed. But isn't this yet another example of why it's unwise for the board's politicians to…… Read More

Still not sure where the Texas State Board of Education is going with the social studies curriculum standards? Then listening to a radio discussion with board member Don McLeroy from last week might help. McLeroy, R-College Station, spoke on Southern California public radio station KPCC last Monday about the social studies debate in Texas. (Click here for the archived audio clip.) Following are some excerpts from that program. McLeroy spoke about the biblical principles he sees at work in America's founding and focused on the Declaration of Independence. And it was clear that he hasn't given up his obsession with attacking evolutionary science:…… Read More

Check out this alarming interview with Texas State Board of Education member Don McLeroy on the ABC News program Nightline last night. It’s hard to overstate the disaster that is unfolding for the education of Texas schoolchildren — really for schoolchildren across the country, considering the huge influence of Texas in the national textbook market. Fortunately, voters rejected McLeroy’s extremism at the polls earlier this month. Even so, he remains on the board until January. And with the adoption of science and social studies textbooks coming soon, the fight against the rest of the board’s far-right faction will continue far beyond McLeroy’s departure from the scene.

We can’t do it without the support of people like you. Please join us in the fight.Read More

First, the good news: At least two members of the Texas State Board of Education's far-right faction won't be there in 2011. Cynthia "Public Education Is a Tool of Perversion" Dunbar, R-Richmond, got so much heat for her extremism -- including outrageous attacks on public schools -- that she decided not to run for re-election. Then Don "Somebody's Got to Stand Up to the Experts" McLeroy, R-College Station, lost his re-election battle to Thomas Ratliff, R-Mountain Pleasant. Mixed news: Brian Russell, the Austin attorney Dunbar recruited to run for her seat, was forced into a Republican runoff against Marsha Farney of Georgetown. Bad news: San Antonio incumbent Ken "Dog-Cat" Mercer won his Republican primary race against challenger Tim Tuggey of Austin. That means the board's far-right faction will still have at least five and as many as six members in 2011 -- still be enough to distrupt and distract the board's attention with "culture war" nonsense. Even so, yesterday's elections -- including Bob Craig's win over a far-right challenger in West Texas -- represented a major step forward for supporters of public education in Texas. Read More