Texas Freedom Network Statement on McLeroy as SBOE Chair
Governor’s Choice Ensures Divisive Ideology, Politics Will Continue to Trump Sound Education Policy at State Board
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2007
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement regarding Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment of Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, as chair of the State Board of Education.
“Once again when it comes to public education policy, Gov. Perry gets an ‘F.’ Texas parents should be troubled that the governor has appointed as head of the state board a clear ideologue who has repeatedly put his own personal and political agendas ahead of sound science, good health and solid textbooks for students. Even worse, Mr. McLeroy will now be in charge of the board’s scheduled revision of the state’s science curriculum standards, an area where he has already cast his lot with extremists who want to censor what our schoolchildren learn.”
Since his election in 1998, Mr. McLeroy, a Bryan dentist, has dragged the Texas State Board of Education into a series of divisive and unnecessary culture war battles:
- He voted in 2001 to reject the only advanced placement environmental science textbook proposed for Texas high schools even though panels of experts including one panel from Texas A&M found the textbook was free of errors. In fact, Baylor University used the same textbook.
- In 2003 Mr. McLeroy led efforts by creationism or “intelligent design” proponents to water down discussion of evolution in proposed new biology textbooks. He was one of only four board members who voted against biology textbooks that year that included a full scientific account of evolutionary theory.
- In 2004, Mr. McLeroy voted to approve “abstinence-only” health textbooks that failed to include any information about responsible pregnancy and STD prevention, despite state curriculum standards requiring that students learn such information.
The governor’s appointment comes just as the state board is considering revisions to the state’s curriculum standards or Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the sciences. These science TEKS will include the previously controversial subjects of environmental science and evolution, both issues McLeroy has publicly declared himself at odds with the scientific community.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who advance a mainstream agenda supporting public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.