The Texas Connection to a Minnesota Extremist and Potential Education Disasterby
Allen Quist, the Minnesota extremist Don McLeroy — then chairman of the Texas State Board of Education — tried to appoint as an “expert” adviser during the revision of social studies curriculum standards in 2009, is back in the news. Quist’s appointment three years ago seemed almost a done deal until the Texas Freedom Network learned about the effort and moved immediately — and successfully — to block it.
The new Mother Jones piece reviews Quist’s rather bizarre history. The anti-gay fanatic’s obsession with homosexuality is so great that he once went “undercover” at a gay bookstore and a bathhouse to “prove” that gay people were having sex:
Quist’s almost singular focus on sexuality didn’t go unnoticed. “At one point,” the St. Petersburg Times reported in 1994, “a Senate leader suggested he had an unhealthy preoccupation with sex, having devoted 30 hours to it in a single session.”
MJ continues by noting how Quist has — among other things — argued that abortion should be criminalized as a first-degree homicide, that women are “genetically predisposed” to be subservient to men, that dinosaurs and humans may have coexisted in Southeast Asia as late as the 11th century, that dragons really existed and that the Bible’s Book of Job should be taught as a science lesson. He also once called President Obama a “power hungry arrogant black man.”
Perhaps Quist’s leading political ally? From the MJ piece:
Quist’s platform and ideology bears a close resemblance to another Minnesota conservative with a huge family and a love-hate relationship with modern science—Rep. Michele Bachmann. That’s no coincidence. Beginning in the late 1990s, the duo worked together to take down Minnesota’s state curriculum standards, which they considered a gateway to a totalitarian society built on moral relativism. He helped make her rise possible; now he wants to join her in Washington.
Bachmann is now helping Quist raise money for his congressional campaign, which has been boosted by support from backers of Ron Paul’s presidential bid.
Among his past campaigns for office, Quist challenged Minnesota’s Republican incumbent governor Arne Carlson in 1994. From Mother Jones:
If Quist does make it through the primary, though, at least one Minnesota Republican will be supporting the moderate Democrat [Tim] Walz [the incumbent]: Carlson. “When he ran, obviously we looked him up—a very bizarre record. I mean really bizarre,” Carlson says, recalling the ’94 race.
“Unfortunately,” Carlson added, “what was bizarre in the ’90s is becoming the centerpiece of this new Republican party.”
And that makes even more alarming the fact that arch-creationist and Joseph McCarthy fan Don McLeroy almost succeeded in giving Quist substantial influence over the rewriting of the social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. The standards eventually adopted by the State Board of Education were awful enough — but consider how even worse they could have been. And given that textbooks written to conform to the Texas standards end up being sold around the country, the damage to public education wouldn’t have been limited just to the Lone Star State.