What’s Next for the State Board of Education?

With the Senate failing Thursday to confirm the appointment of Don McLeroy as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, what happens next? Here’s what Article 4, Section 12, of the Texas Constitution says about gubernatorial appointments:

(f) If an appointee is rejected, the office shall immediately become vacant, and the Governor shall, without delay, make further nominations, until a confirmation takes place. If a person has been rejected by the Senate to fill a vacancy, the Governor may not appoint the person to fill the vacancy or, during the term of the vacancy for which the person was rejected, to fill another vacancy in the same office or on the same board, commission, or other body.

Gov. Rick Perry presumably will choose a fellow Republican to serve as chairman, and that appointee won’t be subject to Senate confirmation until the next time the Legislature is in session. Dallas Republican Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, who served as chairman for two terms ending in 2007, is not eligible to head the board again until 2011. (See Sec. 7.107 of the Texas Education Code.)

Eligible board Republicans include David Bradley of Beaumont Buna, Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands, Cynthia Dunbar of Richmond,  Terri Leo of Spring, Gail Lowe of Lampasas and Ken Mercer of San Antonio — all members of the McLeroy faction. The two remaining Republicans are Bob Craig of Lubbock and Pat Hardy of Fort Worth.

Click here for bios of all state board members.

The new board chairman will preside over the revision of social studies curriculum standards and the adoption of language arts and possibly science textbooks in the next two years. So any opinions on whom Gov. Perry will (or should) choose?

14 thoughts on “What’s Next for the State Board of Education?

  1. Perry is nothing more than a cold, hard uncompassionate conservative.

    He will sniff the political winds of the far right and if he thinks a wingnut similar to McLeroy will help his re-election bid then he will appoint another wingnut. If he thinks having a disfunctional board will be a political liability then he will appoint a Republican moderate such as Bob Craig or Hardy.

    Compentancy doesn’t matter. Our kids education doesn’t matter. All that matters to Perry is what is good for his re-election bid. Nothing more.

    Sad, but true.

  2. I do not recognize many of the people on the list for possible nomination as chair of the SBOE, other than Cynthia Dunbar and Ken Mercer. In my opinion, these two individuals are no different than McElroy and I will express such to my elected senator

  3. Yes, any Republican who is more like Dwight D. Eisenhower than George W. Bush. Surely Perry has managed to figure that out by now, bit I am not holding my breath.

  4. The rational members on the SBOE have an 8 to 7 majority. I think this rejection of McLeroy should encourage them to do what is right with respect to the education of Texas public school children no matter who is selected to be the new chairman. I know it will be more difficult with another anti-science zealot as the chair, but that should also help galvanize their determination not to compromise good education just to get along. These 8 are good people who respect science, the Constitution, and the need for getting the best public education for Texas children.

  5. IMO, the reason we have compromised TEKS right now is because Bob Craig was jockeying to be a favorite for replacing McLeroy as chair. He is not a creationist and probably means to be pro-science, but he decided to take things into his own hands and try becoming the hero who made everyone happy. He would be a great improvement over McLeroy, but I still prefer someone who defers to experts.

    The UK is in a crisis right now in which the public sees its politicians as so universally corrupt that many want to replace to UK constitution with a better political system. We have lots of corruption here, but I’m most flabbergasted by how our system allows an ignorant majority to make important decisions. I’d prefer a revision to our constitution somehow ensuring that all decisions be educated decisions.

  6. Why would we want to electroplate a thin film of zinc crystals on someone’s determination?

  7. I’d prefer a revision to our constitution somehow ensuring that all decisions be educated decisions.

    Joe, to paraphrase the answer to a question I posed to Judge John E. Jones III about whether legal precedence exists for blocking creationism as academic fraud, the Constitution doesn’t prevent stupidity, which is why it’s so important to choose elected officials wisely. It’s not easy, but groups like NCSE, TFN, and many more must keep up the fight to educate the voting public.

  8. James F–

    But elected officials are too hamstrung. Acting intelligently is too often at odds with keeping their jobs. The longer politicians have their jobs, the more skilled they get at keeping them, and the less relevant intelligent decision making becomes.

    Sorry, I’m very cynical about politicians. The only politician I’ll trust is one who is too new to be properly called a politician.

  9. Bob Craig or Pat Hardy would be great picks, but they won’t happen — Perry is angling for the gubernatorial primary and wants to please the hard right.

    Dunbar is a lightning rod who would keep the SBOE in the news and hand the 2010 elections to the good guys. Perry wouldn’t be so stupid as to give us *that* easy a target.

    My money is on Terri Leo or Ken Mercer, both of whom have led fights for the social conservatives. Leo is already Secretary (and the Vice-Chair is a Democrat), so elevating her to Chair is natural. She’s also very intelligent and careful with her language, lobbing leading questions to her favorite witnesses, but not launching into any quotable diatribes on her own. Mercer is more of a pit bull, but his (misleading!) statements about academic freedom aren’t nearly as embarrassing as some of the things that Dunbar or McLeroy have said.

  10. Leo is strident and will raise tempers. She’s also less subtle than McLeroy at pushing the Far Right agenda.

    Mercer doesn’t seem bright enough to do the job. On the other hand, if he gets the job, everyone will write off the things that come out of his mouth the way everyone did with Bush.

    McLeroy was their best pick, so this is definitely a loss for the Far Right.

  11. I’ve got it! All U.S. constitutions should be changed so that after holding one term of an elected position a person must wait at least six years before holding another term of any elected position anywhere. Elected positions should not be self-perpetuating careers.

  12. Everybody know Perry will pick another creationist. Either way they got their agenda passed last march. What really bothers me is the fact that scientific organizations aren’t suing the SBOE for the antiscience standards. I bet if the put “strengths and weaknesses” of the holocaust, the whole world would go after the SBOE. Lawsuits would fly.

  13. We willhave a mess for sure. One poster posed the idea that if someone proposed that we examine the strenghts and weaknesses of the holcaust people would be outraged. Hey– you haven’t seen the new social studies TEKS yet. Can you say big time revisionist? Ken Mercer is [edited]. I do fear for the future of the SBOE. The truth of the matter is that Leo, Dunbar, Mercer, Cargill and Lowe really hate teachers . They profess to care about education, but they really don’t .Dr. Lenninger contributes heavily to all of their campaigns and his goal is eliminate public education.