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Clipping the SBOE

Patricia Kilday Hart has the quote of the day.

The fallout from the State Board of Education’s debate over the teaching of evolution continued this morning in the Senate Education Committee, which held a spirited discussion on Sen. Kel Seliger’s SB 2275 transferring authority for textbook adoption from the State Board of Education to the state’s Education Commissioner.

How spirited? Sen. Kip Averitt, one of the most soft-spoken members of the Senate, was moved to observe that partisan discord has so infected the State Board that its Democrats believe “Republicans want to impose their religious beliefs” on public school students while its Republicans believe “Democrats want to teach our children how to masturbate.”

That woke up the audience members, some no doubt wondering how such a course might boost their kid’s GPA.

Finally, a scholastic category in which we’d have hope of not being Number 50 in the nation. And just imagine what the standardized tests would be like. TFN Insider, which thinks Sen. Seliger’s bill is a good idea, and the Observer have more on the debate and on Sen. Averitt’s remarks.

Quote of the day runnerup goes to the Wall Street Journal for their article on the SBOE’s shenanigans.

“At this point, a lot of us are questioning…whether the state Board of Education serves a purpose anymore,” said state Rep. Donna Howard, a Democrat.

Most state boards of education oversee curricula and assessment tests, but responsibilities for textbooks and school funding vary from state to state.

Board members, who aren’t paid, object to most legislative meddling.

“As crazy as the Texas Board of Education is, there are just as many crazies, percentage-wise, in the state Legislature,” said board member Pat Hardy. Another member, Cynthia Dunbar, said the board’s fierce debates should be seen as a sign that all views are well represented.

I think it’s incumbent on all of us to figure out a way to compare the levels of craziness between the two bodies. Maybe we can get Nate Silver to do some kind of regression analysis on the question. And I must say, regardless of the outcome of that, Cynthia Dunbar does an excellent job of making sure that the crazy constituency is well-represented; hell, between her, Don McLeroy, David Bradley, and some others, that’s easily the best-represented group in the state. Which, naturally, brings us back to the point of Sen. Seliger’s bill. Here’s hoping it makes it through.

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