The Day Ahead: New SBOE Sworn In

UPDATE – 4:45 p.m.
In something of a surprise, state board members revised their operating rules to require that amendments to proposed curriculum standards be filed by 5 p.m. the day before final adoption of the standards. Similar proposals failed twice over the past two years. We’ll have an update on the significance of this and other action at the state board shortly.

UPDATE – 4 p.m.
Officers have been elected. Dist. 9 member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mt. Pleasant, was elected vice chair and Dist. 13 member Mavis Knight, D-Dallas, was named board secretary. Right-wing activists had campaigned against Ratliff as vice chair and were throwing their support behind Dist. 5 member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio.

UPDATE – 11:30 a.m.
Here are the SBOE member terms drawn this morning:

Dist. 1, Martha Dominguez (D-El Paso) – 4 years
Dist. 2, Ruben Cortez Jr. (D-Brownsville) – 2 years
Dist. 3, Marisa B. Perez (D-San Antonio) – 2 years
Dist. 4, Lawrence Allen (D-Fresno) – 2 years
Dist. 5, Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio) – 4 years
Dist. 6, Donna Bahorich (R-Houston) – 4 years
Dist. 7, David Bradley (R-Beaumont) – 2 years
Dist. 8, Barbara Cargill (R-The Woodlands) – 4 years
Dist. 9, Thomas Ratliff (R-Mt. Pleasant) – 4 years
Dist. 10, Tom Maynard (R-Florence) – 4 years
Dist. 11, Pat Hardy (R-Ft.Worth) – 2 years
Dist. 12, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller (R-Dallas) – 2 years
Dist. 13, Mavis Knight (D-Dallas) – 2 years
Dist. 14, Sue Melton (R-Waco) – 4 years
Dist. 15, Marty Rowley (R-Amarillo) – 4 years


The Texas State Board of Education will meet for the first time this year this morning. Over the last year we’ve seen a great deal of board turnover due to retirements and election results, meaning that today’s meeting will feature eight new members on the 15-member board.

Here’s what to watch for today:

Vice chair and secretary elections

After the swearing in ceremony, the first order of business will be to elect officers. Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, remains the board chair, the post she was appointed to by Gov. Rick Perry. But members will decide amongst themselves who will serve as vice-chair and secretary.

Here’s why officer elections are important: the vice chair, secretary and chair make up the state board’s executive committee. Those three officers will assign board members to the board’s standing committees: Instruction (dealing with curriculum matters), Finance/Permanent School Fund, and School Initiatives (which deals with charter schools).

Operating rules
At the beginning of every new term, the board revisits its operating rules. In the past there have been debates over the need for basic qualifications for curriculum experts and other common sense measures that would improve the controversial process of adopting curriculum and textbooks. Theses previous efforts were contentious and largely dead on arrival. We’ll see if the board renews this discussion today.

Two years vs. four years
Board members serve four-year terms. But because of redistricting, all 15 spots on the board were up for grabs during last November’s elections. Now the board members must participate in a draw to determine who gets a four-year term and who will have to run again in two years. The draw happens today.

We will, of course, be at today’s meeting and will have more on today’s happenings here on the blog later today. Watch this post for updates as developments happen.

6 thoughts on “The Day Ahead: New SBOE Sworn In

  1. I wish I could be there w/ you. I’m very interested in how Tom Maynard (Dist. 10) deals with or against the religious right.

    1. Alvy King: That’s an EXCELLENT question. Why be on the TX SBOE if you don’t have “skin in the game?”

  2. I just wanted to thank Ken Mercer and David Bradley for having the integrity, intellect,
    moral courage and honesty to not ever attempt to substitute refuted, non scientific,(AAAS statements and the entire body of scientific literature), non published(Library of Congress science articles)
    non mainstream Christian Church supported(NCE website church statements), illegal(Supreme Court 1987,Federal Court Kitzmiller 2005) creationism, into the Texas classroom.
    I feel really good knowing that Texas has gentlemen of such high quality and of a non- arrogant, honest Christian nature representing the children and taxpayers of the state.
    Its also really good to know that they would never deceive, misinform, miseducate, or otherwise damage children’s ability to tell the difference between actual science and misleading intelligent design creationism or old fashioned foot stompin’ creationism pseudoscientific garbage.
    Thank you David !
    Thank you Ken !
    I hope some day MY children will grow up to follow the incredibly high morale and intellectual standards you are stting for all of us and that they will achieve the lofty intellectual skills you demonstrate for us daily. “Cat-Rat” and “I ain’t no kin to no monkey’ D and B !Well done.!!

  3. Ken and David !
    Hey, my family and my professional geologist friends all saw you two and your fine work on The Revisionaries the other night!
    I am so very happy you two have started to get the attention and respect that you have been striving to achieve the past few years.
    You should be very proud to know that your intellectual capabilities, humility, Christian values, education and unimpeachable integrity are on display for the entire world to see, as you continue the fight for edamacated scientific content in the classroom and the highest standards of personal honor and courage.
    It is truly an inspiration to watch you two at work on film.
    A hundred years from now, your names will be revered by millions of people as true leaders and courageous pathblazers in the eforts to keep Dark Ages magical pseudoscience and science defaming misinformation away from vulnerable school children.
    Thank you so much for your work and the leadership you are providing Texas in its efforts to build an educated population capable of telling the difference between illogical pseudoscientific fraud and actual sciece so that they can contribute to mankind in geophysics and oil and gas geosciene,astronomy and physics, satellitte communications,space exploration, scienceresearch, improvement of man’s life quality and the assurance of solutions to climate threats and pollution/resource for energy issues. Its good to know you help people and don’t hang onto the population like a pair of parasites using scientific ideas for your lives while preventing children from learning what scinece actually is. And you are providing such a great example of Christian faith by not attempting to deceive and defraud children with cunning pseudoscience attack dog anti science rhetoric. Thanks ! You are my inspiration and my heros. 🙂 And Barbara ! Words fail my friends and I as we watch you utilize your edumacation degree to pass on real science
    ideas like irreducible complexity,gaps,Second law of Thermodynamics, were you there?,no tranisitional fossil scientific truths to
    children. Since scince is critical thinking, I’m happy that you don’t continue to push fraudulent ideas that have been definitively and thoroughly refuted by scince, into the classroom. This is true integrity and humility before God. Well done !