TFN Statement on Senate’s McLeroy Vote

The Texas Senate today failed to confirm Don McLeroy as chairman of the State Board of Education. The 19-11 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for confirmation. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is releasing the following statement:

“Watching the state board the last two years has been like watching one train wreck after another. We had hoped that the Legislature would take more action to put this train back on the tracks, but clearly new leadership on the board was a needed first step. The governor should know that parents will be watching closely to see whether he chooses a new chairman who puts the education of their children ahead of personal and political agendas.”

Rumors about whom Gov. Rick Perry will choose to replace McLeroy as board chairman have been abundant. The state Constitution appears to direct the governor to act immediately to choose a new chairman, but the next board meeting isn’t until July.

Regardless of the governor’s selection for the next chair of the board, our work is not done. With your support, TFN will continue leading the charge for sound education standards, ideology-free textbooks and the best interests of Texas school children.

Help us celebrate today’s victory with a gift to support our ongoing work at the State Board of Education and Legislature.

26 thoughts on “TFN Statement on Senate’s McLeroy Vote

  1. If there is a special session after the new appointment, does the appointment have to be confirmed in that session? If so, Perry may choose to call an immediate special session and wait until July for the appointment.

  2. In know many Republicans did not want to vote against McLeroy because he was a Republican. They are relieved that Democrats had enough votes to block him withut some Republicans crossing party lines.

  3. Dewhirst was so surprised he flubbed the announcement of the vote and had to confer with the parlimentarian.

    If Republicans didn’t want McLeroy, they sure did a great show of pretending they did.

  4. I was hoping that at least 1 Republican senator would vote against him. Just out of curiosity, is it worthwhile to send a polite note to my senator (Shapiro) expressing disappointment in how she voted? Or do calls and emails to our elected representatives only count before a vote?

    1. By all means, contact your senator and let her know about your disappointment. There will be other votes in the future, and she should know that her constituents are watching and what they want.

  5. Phil,

    Shapiro is my senator too, and I have called and asked her “not to vote for this wacko, that my kid is looking at Harvard and MIT and McLeory isn’t helping her get in, we are entering the knowledge economy, he is a nat’l laugingstock, etc.”

    So please call her Austin office and I will too!!! I challenge you to find ten other constituents to call her because I know I can!

    GAME ON, Phil, if you dare!

  6. I think the Governor should know by now that appointment of another Biblical Literalist Zealot (BLZ) to set the agenda for the TSBOE will be counter-productive for him. Appointment of a rational member to run the board would help him neutralize the drift toward KBH, but then he might be too beholden to the far right to do otherwise.

    The rational 8 on the board should also realize they need to stick together because compromising with the BLZ’s is only going to hurt education. The seven BLZ’s stuck together for every vote of which I was aware. That means the rational 8 must do the same or education will suffer.

  7. This partyline vote tells me that the Texas Feardom Network (yes, Feardom) is basically a liberal Democratic phenomenon. Going after Don McLeroy like this is punishment for his leadership in getting some degree of balance into the new science TEKS. But remember, the new science standards were passed not by an 8:7 margin the way TFN pretends, but by a 13:2 vote, so you have lots of Democrats and public opinion to blame too guys.

  8. Phil and TFN:

    I have been very disappointed with the use of e-mail to contact assorted public officials. I do not think they take them seriously. Oh sure, they may count them: 10, 640 e-mails in favor and 8,630 e-mails against. However, just as a message, I think they see it as a relatively unimportant note scribbled on the paper side of one of those aluminum foil wraps for sticks of chewing gum. In recent years, I have heard more than one politician say that all public polls measure is a constituent passions on a single day at a single moment, so they pay no attention to polls. E-mail is such a quick and easy way to fire off an impassioned message, and I think they know that, essentially treating e-mail as the momentary emotional outburst that can be ignored.

    Personally, I think I am going to start doing this instead. I think it would be better to write your representatives a good, old-fashioned letter on paper. Pull up Gregg or the Chicago Manual of Style and write a really good letter with grammar and expression as near perfect as you can get it. Print that baby out on the heaviest weight and most business-looking bond paper you can find. In other words, pull together a letter package that says, “I verily drip with intelligence, money, and power.” Send it as a Registered Letter so someone will have to sign for it at the official’s office. That may cost you a few bucks extra, but you have to remember, people as shallow as politicians (and their staffs) are impressed by crap that would make most of us vomit. Give it a try!!!

  9. Well, this still shows how divided our state Senators are on this. I would think that the English standards episode along with Mcleroy’s well publicized opinion of experts (or his ideas about who should be considered an expert for that matter) would have had a bigger impact. It seems that Republicans could easily have justified voting against him even if a large number of constituents agree with Mcleroy on science. I understand, however, that this is likely to be represented as persecution of a christian, and many would not want to be seen as supporting that.

    How will this affect the nominations under way (or already made) for the Social Studies standards?

  10. We’re supposed to celebrate this as a victory when our state senators voted strictly along partison lines instead of voting their conscience? Nineteen votes to confirm McLeroy; only ekeven votes against. How does this make Texas any less of a national joke?

  11. This doesn’t make Texas any less of a joke, currently our governor is in Houston and his words on twitter: ‘Just with Rush Limbaugh in Houston for a Michael McCaul fundraiser!! Two great conservatives.’ That says it all right there. How can anyone possibly consider Rush Limbaugh Great in anything when all he does is spout hateful comments.

  12. Gage, politicians vote according to what their constituency will support, so they can be re-elected. Let’s not confuse mob mentality with rational decision making. Winning a vote isn’t what makes a person right.

  13. The fact that the vote was party-line is very disappointing. I wonder how Shapiro, who can’t think much of McLeroy’s world-view, was pressured into supporting him. Or Jeff Wentworth, who has enough backbone to push for sensible redistricting reform but not enough to oppose McLeroy. Did they decide, as a caucus, to let the Dems take the blame (and the credit) for scuttling McLeroy, or did they actually want McLeroy confirmed?

    However you slice it, the message the Senate sent would have been a heckuva lot stronger if there had been even one Republican vote against. The story line could have been “Senate rejects McLeroy”, and now it’s just “Senate Democrats block McLeroy”. This lets Perry off the hook, and makes it easy for him to appoint another social conservative as chair. (sigh)

  14. If the vote was faith-based versus reality-based communities, the vote would have been around 18 for and 2 against, according to the polls I’ve seen. In Texas, it may have even been 20 to zip.

  15. homostoicus: Are the 11 votes short in your figures for some new age, quantum, chi type belief? 🙂

  16. Audio of the hour-long debate on McLeroy (without the rest of the session’s 6 hours +) is now posted at

    There’s also a short clip with just this bit from Sen. Ogden:

    “He does have a better scientific background than most of us — he’s got a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering!

    “He has a better science background than most of us — he’s a Doctor of Dental Science [sic] — Hell, he IS a scientist! ”

    (note: Ogden was not the only McLeroy supporter to gloss “DDS” as “Doctor of Dental Science”.)

  17. I have another evaluation of the vote.

    I do not think the Republican vote was along party lines. I think it was along FEAR lines that just looked like party lines. When you are scared, you all hold hands to cross the street. Right now, most Republicans I know about are like deer in the truck floodlights at 2:00 a.m. They are a very unhappy, conflicted, and scared bunch. Considering everything they did to screw up this country (not to mention my 401K) over the past 14 years, they had better be scared. EVERYONE knows they are the rapist who did the screwing. Attempts to pawn if off on some other political person or entity besides is not going to work this time around. People are wise to them. When so many people get hurt this bad for this long, the people who got hurt remember who did it. If someone beats you up, you remember who did it. Does Nancy Kerrigan remember Tanya Harding and her hit man?

    Republicans hear this. My mom and dad had just gotten married when the Great Depression hit in 1929. It is hard to overcome something that devastating when you are just starting out. They were hurt. Eberyone around them was hurt. I was a late in life child born in 1952. From my earliest days, my parents told me how much they disliked Herbert Hoover. They died in 1986 and 1997 at the ages of 74 and 87. They may have forgiven Hoover, but I can tell you that they never forgot him, his failures, and what he allowed to happen to this country because of his philosophy that it was WRONG for government to regulate or otherwise interfere with free markets. Hoover may have been a bright engineer. Hoover may have been talented at directing an international food relief effort when he was not President. Hoover may have a far right wing whacko think tank named after him at Stanford University. None of it matters. American history to this day remembers him as inept and villainous.

    Every Republican in Texas and every Republican in the United States—especially the far right wingnut kind like George W. Bush—need to understand that they themselves are STANDING SQUARELY IN HERBERT HOOVER’S SHOES RIGHT NOW IN THE EYES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE in this time and place. You have done bad things. The American people are not going to forget it for a very long time—just like they did not forget Herbert Hoover.

  18. I wonder if the poster “Gage” above might be “Logan Gage”, Discovery Institute creationist shill:

    McLeroy going down like this is punishment for licking Phillip Johnson’s boot. You silly little anti-science liars…who soil true religion with your lies… can pack up your stealth creationism pamphlets and head on back to Seattle now. And don’t think you are doing the Lord’s work. There isn’t a God or Christ in heaven who approves of your lies. You are dishonest about your origin, dishonest about your intent, and dishonest about the science. Jesus certainly does not approve. To hell with Discovery Institute and intelligent design creationism. To hell with you trying to brainwash our children. Don’t mess with Texas.

  19. Hey, McLeroy is a DI Waterboy ,

    Well said. I wish I had thought to say that.

    The tide has turned. Ultimately reason and factual science will prevail. Why? Because they are true and the radical Christian Right lies to justify their religion.

    Ultimately, given enough time, people will see this and reject dishonest arguments and falsehoods, especially when used to justify religious beliefs.