Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TX Senate Not To Confirm Creationist Don McLeroy As Chairman Of The State Board of Education, Or Maybe They Will

Update Wednesday May 20, 2009 - He's back - Chairman Don McLeroy got his once-imperiled nomination approved by the Senate Nominations committee this afternoon in a 4-2 vote. Lobbying effort's have apparently been under way for weeks - it worked. McLeroy's nomination could reach the full Senate for debate and a vote by Monday or Tuesday.

Senate confirmation of Don McLeroy, as chairman of the State Board of Education, is dead in the water, according to the Senate Nominations Committee chairman. (

McLeroy, a dentist, was first appointed board chairman by Republican Governor Rick Perry in the summer of 2007. Young earth creationist McLeroy, recently reappointed as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) by Gov. Perry, believes Texas students should be taught the earth is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old and that modern man and dinosaurs walk the earth together.

Texas State Senate Nominations Committee Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, said that McLeroy's nomination will be left pending in committee because there is enough opposition on the floor of the Senate to block his confirmation, which requires approval of two-thirds of the senators. Senate Democrats alone could stop McLeroy's confirmation, but Republicans, too, have taken issue with the board.

McLeroy will keep his seat as a board member even if he was not confirmed as board chairman. Perry would then appoint a chairman from among the other board members who would not face Senate confirmation until 2011. Perry will likely continue to pander to the evangelical base of Texas Republicans and simply appoint one of the other creationists currently sitting on the board of education who also opposes teaching evolution in Texas school science class rooms.
Perry is playing politics with Texas Students - Perry's anti-Washington secessionist rhetoric and pandering on a range of right-wing social issues, including teaching creationism in Texas schools, is clearly working with the Texas Republican base. Perry is trying to woo the right-wing base away from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) who will oppose Perry in the 2010 GOP primary next March.

An internal poll from Perry's campaign finds Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) beating him in a Republican primary now by just 45% to 39%. A more recent Rasmussen poll shows Perry passing Hutchison 42% to 38% in the last month. Hutchison was far ahead of Perry just a few months ago.
The Texas House of Representatives approved a constitutional amendment in late April that would move the decisions about the $17.5 billion Permanent School Fund away from the state board of education to an appointed council of financial professionals. Plus, a bipartisan group of Texas State Senators introduced a bill to take away the elected board's authority over curriculum and textbooks.

The high-profile, bloody curriculum battles and controversial comments from creationist board members has Texas legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, in the mood to leave the state board of education headless and toothless after this session. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Texas legislature will have time to actually take up these measures by the time the session adjourns on June 1st.

Related Posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment