Vote “no” on Bill Wenmark

The Minnetonka school district is one of the best in Minnesota, with an exceptionally concerned and active set of parents and teachers who work hard to keep informed and support their schools. They established an organization, TonkaFocus, to oppose creationism in the schools and attempts to demolish their international baccalaureate program, a very smart move — pro-science parent activism is always something to encourage.

Minnetonka was also the home district of Dave Eaton, an ID sycophant who was a crony of the odious Cheri Yecke, and who was responsible for some of the shenanigans in our state’s last attempt to get some decent science education standards. He’s gone, fortunately, but one of his pals, Bill Wenmark, is still on the Minnetonka school board.

But, we hope, not for long. He’s up for re-election on 6 November.

School boards should be places for people who know something about education and who want to improve schools for our kids. Creationists who want to damage science education and make our kids more ignorant do not belong on them, and Bill Wenmark is one of those wackos who wants to inflict his religious vision on other people’s children — he needs to be replaced on the school board. Greg Laden has more on Wenmark, who doesn’t particularly like TonkFocus or the ACLU or legitimate science education. I have to second Greg’s suggestion:

Minnetonkans! Vote for The Other Guy!


  1. says

    What’s wrong with IB programmes? I’m a big fan. I certainly don’t remember any creationism in IB biology! (In fact my IB biology teacher helped me cure my mind-dualism beliefs, although I recognize that this is exceptionally good science teaching and can’t be expected of all teachers).

  2. says

    Fundamentalists don’t like the word “international”. (Nor do they like international organizations such as the UN.) Foreign ideas are unamerican and therefore potentially dangerous. Such ideas could lead one to question indoctrination in the same way that evolutionary ideas can lead one to question biblical literalism.

  3. Eric says

    I actually know Minnetonka, despite never having been there or anywhere near it. Last summer I interned at an engineering company that had its main office in Minnetonka (2000+ employees there, I believe), but I was at a satellite office near Chicago with six engineers and one manager.

    I do remember doing the final intern presentations by teleconference though, and hearing one of the interns introduce himself as follows: “I’m a fundamentalist right-wing Christian computer scientist.” He then went on to give a brief explanation of why he was each of those. I’m not sure what the reaction up there in Minnetonka was, but at my office it elicited some snickers and snorts – I’m pretty sure at least most of the guys there were atheists, though they never explicitly said it.

    I guess that experience had kinda given me the impression that Minnetonka was more of a conservative, religious area, so I was somewhat surprised that they’ve opposed religious beliefs being taught in schools.

  4. says

    The City of Minnetonka (approximately the western half of which is in the Minnetonka School District; MSD also includes areas of other suburbs on the east and south shores of the Lake.) is moving left. Kerry narrowly defeated Bush here in 2004, the first time in memory (and maybe ever, for all I know) that the city did not go with the GOP Prez candidate. There are some fundies and wingnuts here, but not as many as in further-out suburbs.

    I live in the portion of Minnetonka served by the Hopkins SD, which is also filling a lot of vacancies on its Board in the upcoming election. If any TC-area readers can suggest a reliable source as to the candidates’ views on science education, I’d like to get a link to it. Below is a link to the piece in the local rag about the election, with thumbnails of the candidates:

  5. says

    PZ, your post seems to be saying that TonkaFocus is opposed to the IB programme. On their own website they defend it and counter criticisms against it. I wonder if this was a typo? I took IB and while it might not have been as wonderful as advertised, there was certainly no creationism or anything involved. I wonder, if you are against it, what are your reasons?

  6. says

    No, no — the wingnuts like Eaton and Wenmark wanted to remove the IB program, while TonkaFocus worked to defend it. I very much like IB — it’s a method of setting higher standards without the counterproductive nitpicking, teach-to-the-test mentality of the NCLB.

  7. Faithful Reader says

    My parents were in the first graduating class of Minnetonka High after the district combined Excelsior and (I think) Deep Haven. Their class mates included a number of future doctors and scientists. Please keep science on track for Minnetonka!

  8. Judy Budreau says

    PZ and all, thanks for the support for science in Minnetonka. We have a chance to elect four candidates – Cal Litsey, Lisa Wagner, Paul Luehr, Karen Walkowski – who fully support evolutionary biology and understand that ID is creationism. All have been supportive of our International Baccalaureate program, too – and have much else to recommend them. These four are working hard to pass two referenda we sorely need. Full info on all candidates and links to their websites is available on the front page of
    Please spread the word to your voting friends in Minnetonka. Hopkins Schools – I hear the four female candidates are a safe bet for science. Yvonne Selcer, incumbent, woudl be a good source of info.
    Judy Budreau, Co-Editor, TonkaFocus