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The DMN on the SBOE

The DMN takes a look at the various State Board of Education races for 2010. Much of this we already know, but two things to note:

Eight of the 15 board seats are on the ballot this year.

Three of those, including McLeroy’s, are held by members of the social conservative faction. Another social conservative running for re-election is Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, who has similarly drawn a strong challenger in the GOP primary, San Antonio lawyer Tim Tuggey. Four Democrats have also filed for the post.

[…]

Republican Bob Craig of Lubbock, an incumbent who has often been at odds with the social conservatives, is facing a primary challenge from a former school board chairman in Odessa, Randy Rives, who pushed through a controversial Bible study class and an abstinence-only sex education program in that district.

The Texas Freedom Network elaborates further.

Craig’s primary opponent is Randy Rives (no Web site yet), who served one term on the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees in Odessa. In 2005 and 2006, Rives pushed through approval of a deeply flawed high school Bible course, with the board choosing class materials from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. A Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report in 2005 revealed that the National Council’s sloppy curriculum was riddled with factual errors and promoted an almost exclusively fundamentalist Protestant interpretation of the Bible. After local parents sued, school district officials agreed to stop using the curriculum.

Rives also was a key player in having the local school board implement a strict abstinence-only policy on sex education classes in the district. Today Ector County is still struggling to bring down a teen pregnancy rate that is highest in the state and twice the national average.

Craig, a traditional Republican conservative, has been a consensus-seeker on the state board. Sure enough, that has earned him the bitter hostility of far-right extremists who oppose teaching about evolution in science classrooms and have repeatedly attacked curriculum recommendations made by teachers and academic experts (condemned by the far right as “radicals” and “educrats”).

No Democrat filed for the seat. Should Craig lose his bid for re-election to Rives, the state board could move even further to the right.

[…]

District 5

Incumbent Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, faces a tough fight in his Republican primary against Tim Tuggey, an Austin attorney and past chair of San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit agency. Tuggey has the backing of a number of San Antonio heavyweights, including businessmen Red McCombs, Bartell Zachry and David Spencer. Mercer has been a reliable vote for the board’s far-right faction.

Four Democrats have filed for the District 5 seat. Rebecca Bell-Metereau is an English and film professor at Texas State University-San Marcos. Robert Bohmfalk is a mental health case manager from Seguin. Daniel Boone of Canyon Lake is a retired career Air Force officer and a professional psychologist who has taught at the university level. Josiah Ingalls is a machine operator in Austin.

So the good news is that there’s another way for something good to happen, if Mercer gets knocked off in his primary. The bad news is that there is a way for something bad to happen, and that would be if Bob Craig were to lose. And unfortunately, whatever happens in this election, the Board will have already done whatever damage it’s going to do to the social studies textbooks. The best we can hope for is to begin the turnaround. The Sensuous Curmudgeon has more.

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3 Comments

  1. […] a reminder that no matter how positive the electoral prospects are, there’s an awful lot of damage the SBOE clown chow can do before […]

  2. The Texas Freedom Network is an invaluable resource for information on all things political, as is this site. Thanks for continuing to provide great coverage of this and many other important issues.

  3. […] mentioned before that the GOP primary for SBOE District 5 is worth watching, but I didn’t know much about it […]