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2012 Texas SBOE Elections

TEA LogoElection Day is soon to be upon us. In fact, early voting has already started. So, I figured it would be worth posting a bit about the school board election. I've written quite a bit about our State Board of Education (SBOE) in the past. For a pretty thorough listing, go to this entry, Texas Primary Results for SBOE, and scroll to the bottom for a list of all the times I've discussed our SBOE. To quote one sentence from that entry to describe the situation in the state, "An extreme right-wing faction has pulled some sleazy and dishonest stunts over the past few years, from last minute back door dealings that not all board members were privy to, to trying to inject creationism into science, to trying to change history standards to some alternative reality." Thankfully, many of those far right members were voted out in the last election, and some more lost in the primaries this year. But, the extremists didn't disappear. Some are still up for reelection, and there are some new ones on the ballot. So those of us in the state that care about our children's education need to turn out at the polls this year to ensure that good board members are elected.

I'll add that this isn't exactly a partisan issue. While all of the extremists are/were Republicans, not all of the Republicans are extremists. So look at the candidate's positions and vote for the ones that look to be the best qualified regardless of what letter appears behind their name.

For more information on the candidates, the best resource is the Texas Freedom Network. Here are links to a few pages on their site that will help inform you for the SBOE election.

I also found a right wing site that sent questionnaires to the candidates and got responses from mostly Republican candidates. If you navigate through that site, you can find their response.

If you're unsure of which district you're in due to the recent redistricting, there's a very hand online tool to help you out with that. You type in your address, and it will tell you your district and representative for U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, State Senators, State Representatives, and SBOE.

I have to admit that I'm already cringing for the expected result for the SBOE representative for my district. Thanks to the redistricting and then a loss in the primaries, I'm no longer represented by Gail Lowe (one of the past extremists). But the candidate that looks poised to win the spot for my district this time around is Marty Rowley, who looks to be just as bad if not worse than Lowe. His website had the following statement that's a big red flag, "I support allowing our Texas teachers and schoolchildren to look at all sides of scientific theories, including evolution, intelligent design and global warming, without fear of recrimination." I've written about this issue before in Strengths and Limitations. It's not an attempt to provide the best information to students, but a type of weasel phrase that creationists/denialists use to try to teach discredited creationist/denialist ideas.

Even worse than his stance on science, when I looked at his answers to that Heritage Alliance questionnaire, I found this. In response to the statement, "It is the government's responsibility to be sure children are properly educated.", he disagreed. That is mind boggling. Out of all the possible roles government could have, this to me is one of the least questionable. A government of, by, and for the people should certainly ensure that the people receive a proper education. Democracy just doesn't work without a well educated citizenry. Our population is already ignorant enough. Does he want to leave education in the hands of the already ignorant?

Here are a few of the other questions/statements from that questionnaire. I'm sure that even without following the link to the Heritage Alliance site that you can guess how Rowley responded. "Biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution should be rejected by the Board." "I support the History and Social Studies curriculum standards approved by the State Board of Education in 2010." "I support school counseling or teaching about homosexuality." "I support displaying the Ten Commandments in public school buildings." "Any teaching to children on sex education in public schools must include all contraceptive methods, and should not show preference to abstinence."

His opponent, the good guy, is Steven Schafersman. I've followed Schafersman's articles on the Texas Observer, and I think he would make a good member of the BOE. Unfortunately, he just doesn't have the support that Rowley has. I can no longer recall where I found it, but I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Rowley had raised significantly more funds for his campaign than Schafersman, and it's really no surprise which way this part of Texas leans.

So like I said already, research the candidates in your district, and make sure to get out there on Election Day and vote for the most qualified one. Our children don't need any more disservice like they've gotten from past extremists.


Thanks for doing this every year Jeff. I always specifically check your site before I vote so that I can educate myself a little better. The "Who represents me" part was a little messed up where I live. It said that Bell county was in district 5, but it's in district 10 now. Luckily I checked both and knew to vote for Judy Jennings instead Tom Maynard. I couldn't find a good guide to what district I was in, so I checked out both.

Glad to be of help. And glad to hear from you again. It's been a while - and no updates to your blog in about a year. I hope everything's going okay with you.

I've been more active on Google+ and busy with school and work. It's funny, my blog actually has more hits recently than it has ever had because of two particular posts that finally got traction. I've been thinking of things to write, but still haven't made the time to yet. Everything going good with you?

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