Talking Points

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“Am I a religious fanatic? Absolutely. You’d have to be to do what I do.”

— State Board of Education member Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, talking about how he approaches public education.

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8 thoughts on “Talking Points

  1. I can’t really say how fair that article was, since there’s no way that they could impart on the reader just how far out McLeroy really is without a 3-page essay pointing out the many imbecilic stances taken by him, such as during the evolution textbook battle.

  2. Yeah, and he is mentally ill too.

    I think he is a classic Obsesive-Compulsive centered on religion.

    No much difference between McLeroy and any other religious fanatic in the world of any religion.

  3. Yeah, he pretty much admitted to that, PHarvey. I wish they’d skip putting his picture up, although I picture a scene where someone notices a reflection off his very shiny dome that looks suspiciously like the Virgin Mary. Bill Donohue and his cohorts descend into Texas to proclaim McLeroy’s head a “Sacred Icon, thus sending conservative Catholic fundies into a rapturous throng that must visit and touch his holy pate, and causing Don to weep in anguish.

    Later, McLeroy’s new toupee is seen as the funniest thing in Texas since Kinky Friedman!

  4. The article stated:

    “He’s focused in part on the problems of teacher training, which he feels is much too easy. For a time, McLeroy trained to be a teacher at the University of Texas in Austin, but he says it was much too easy. The key to better schools, he says, is attracting better teachers through more rigorous training.”

    1) Teacher education programs at colleges are notoriously easy—with some exceptions.

    2) The teachers in our public schools are not the best people—with some exceptions—one reason being private sector salary vs. educator salary.

    3) Once upon a time, I knew a college elementary education student who was scared of failing Elementary School Bulletin Boards 403. I coprolite you not. It was halfway through the quarter, and the best she had been able to manage was a “C.” You would have thought the world was coming to an end.

    4) I hear stories about elementary school math teachers who did very poorly in college math. Their typical response is, “Well, you don’t really need calculus to teach second grade math.” Yes, but it doesn’t exactly inspire public confidence in teachers.

    5) My cousin is a math professor at a community college in the town where we grew up. We talk a whole bunch. Among other things, she teaches remedial math to freshman and sophomore students. The students she gets have horrible math skills. The problem is that she gets them in large numbers. Some of them don’t know how to take a simple measurement with a ruler. After seeing such students for 30 years and talking to the students to ascertain what went wrong in high school, she has indeed determined that student laziness was a big factor. However, she has also determined just as clearly that high school math teacher laziness and incompetence was also a major factor in most cases. There are even instances where an English teacher who recalled virtually nothing about math was put in charge of teaching math classes because the school system could not find enough qualified math teachers. In such instances, the English teachers just shrugged and converted the math class into a study hall. Result: The kids cannot use a simple ruler. One of my good college friends, who flunked out of college, told me point blank that this is precisley what happened with his high school chemistry course.

    6) For years now, I have had my own criteria for hiring public school teachers. You DO NOT hire anyone who majored in education over in the Department of Education at a college or university. Flee from them like the plague. The teacher candidate must have majored in a real and tangible academic area such as English, math, chemistry, physics, sociology, psychology, biology, classics, physics, philosophy, etc. Now watch this carefully. The candidate MUST have a minimum 3.5 (out of 4.0) gradepoint average in their OVERALL academic course work—not just in their major. Finally, they MUST be able to read and write at least as well as Rebecca “Water Meter.” Has anyone here noticed her writing? The old editor has. It’s so smooth and concise. An excellent command of the English language allows people to think clearly and communicate effectively. It’s not cleanliness that is next to Godliness. It’s CLARITY. If you understand a subject and can communicate it clearly, students will learn.

    Yes, I know. If we applied those criteria, the entire state of Texas would have exactly 173 public school teachers. Nonetheless, I stand by them. Either we get the best possible teachers for our kids and pay them well, or we sit around on our duffs and complain about the public schools for the next century.

  5. This is one of the few times I have agreed with Don McLeroy. Don’t expect to see this too often.

  6. As long as we’re playing topsy-turvy, I’ll wade in with the suggestion that the teacher’s unions shouldn’t be able to inject abject rejects into classrooms. (Typing this on my union-paid for computer, using funds from my union pension.)

  7. It’s not really topsy-turvy Trog. Most of us recognize that various aspects of our public education system are broken. We have to find answers and fix it. We just realize that Don McLeroy and his allies have answers that are, well—just plain stupid—like calling in Mickey Mouse in his wizard suit to sprinkle stardust on it. The answer is certainly not to abolish our public schools and replace them with a private system of Southern Baptist convention schools. Can you imagine a 10:00 a.m. school-wide assembly to hear Richard Land talk to the student body? Would you want your child there?