The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Furthers the Creationist Agenda… Again

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 20, 2009

I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop in the ongoing fiasco that is the Texas State Board of Education, and it seems as if it has indeed dropped… with a resounding thud.  The fear was that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would appoint far-rightwing nutcase Cynthia Dunbar as the new chair of the BoEd, but what actually happened is that he went with someone a bit more low key but every bit as nutty, Gail Lowe.

The Texas Freedom Network is on the case…

Lowe’s record on the State Board of Education includes:

In 2004 Ms. Lowe opposed requiring that publishers obey curriculum standards and put medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention in new high school health textbooks.

In 2008 Ms. Lowe voted to throw out nearly three years of work by teacher writing teams on new language arts standards. Over the strenuous objections of teachers and curriculum specialists, Lowe instead voted for a standards document that the board’s far-right bloc patched together overnight and slipped under hotel doors the morning of the final vote.

In 2003 and 2009 Ms. Lowe supported dumbing down the state’s public school science curriculum by voting to include unscientific, creationist criticisms of evolution in science textbooks and curriculum standards.

And for those whiny rightwing fundamentalist whackjobs who will moan that “we should all just give Ms. Lowe a fair chance,” it seems as if she’s already going full-steam ahead with the nutwad agenda.  The Texas Freedom Network has discovered the following disturbing comments from one of her colleagues…

If you wondered if the appointment of Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, as new State Board of Education chair signals a new direction for the embattled board, Lowe’s fellow board member — and fellow culture warrior — Terri Leo, R-Spring, has an answer for you:

“Philosophically I believe she is the most conservative SBOE member. We tease her, that if we are not voting with Gail we need to check our conservative compasses.”

Gail Lowe might not decry public schools as the tool of the devil (a la Cynthia Dunbar), but her record on the board makes clear that she shares Dunbar’s primary objective  — to push her religious and political agenda into Texas classrooms. She’ll just do it with a smile instead of a sneer.

And that last point is all-important. Gail Lowe may not be a buffoon like Don McLeroy, not may she be a firebrand like Cynthia Dunbar, but it seems as if she is even more dangerous than either of them – because she will attempt to further the rightwing, fundamentalist Christian, creationist agenda by being nice.  This is relevant because in politics, being seen as a nice person can actually get you somewhere, so in Texas she might actually be successful in implementing her agenda.

To put it succinctly, Gail Lowe seems to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  So it appears the skeptical & scientific community still has its work cut out for it in opposing the ongoing anti-scientific & anti-intellectual movement in Texas.  It’s bigger than Texas folks, because what happens in Texas with standards & textbooks certainly does not stay in Texas since that state heavily influences textbook selection nationwide.

To get involved, I suggest connecting with and supporting one of the following organizations:

Texas Freedom Network

Texas Citizens for Science

National Center for Science Education

3 Responses to “Texas Gov. Rick Perry Furthers the Creationist Agenda… Again”

  1. astrostu206265 said

    What a horrid decision. Maybe Texans will get rid of their governor next election so that we can move beyond this Creationist posturing. Or, on a much more cynical note, maybe Texas will just succeed from the union as their governor threatened a few months ago.

    • mattusmaximus said

      I tend to agree with you, on the first point. It seems as if the only real way to finish off this creationist lunacy once and for all in Texas is to replace the governor with someone who isn’t a pawn of the creationist religious-right. From what I understand, there are a lot of people in Texas getting tired of Rick Perry, so hopefully we won’t have to wait long to see him kicked to the curb. Hopefully, shortly thereafter there will be some intelligent decisions regarding the Texas BoEd made. In the process, however, you can bet that the creationists who are already in positions of political power will do everything they can to avoid losing that power – cleaning house in Texas will get mighty ugly, methinks.

  2. […] by mattusmaximus on August 9, 2009 I’ve made numerous posts here about the Texas Board of Education pushing a creationist agenda in regards to science classes & textbooks, but the agenda of the religious fundamentalists in Texas is much broader than […]

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