What’s your school board like?

The Center for Inquiry in Austin hosted a meeting that asked the question, Will Texas Support 21st Century Science Education? The good news is that the place was packed, and there are a lot of rational, intelligent people in Texas who are fed up with the lunatics running the show and are motivated to do something about it. That’s kind of the theme here; we’re having a rising grassroots revolution here that’s going to throw these rascals out.

But here’s the bad news: we’ve been slacking off, and the raving fundie nitwits have taken a lot of political power.

Here’s why the situation for science is so dire right now. Science standards are coming up for review later this year, and right now, the State Board of Education is not only run by a YEC, but out of the SBOE’s fifteen members, seven of them are YEC’s.

And it gets worse…there’s a chance that the Texas board will gain a creationist majority, and the Democratic party is absolutely spineless and worthless.

Now this part is important: Right now the fundies are running some fundie wingnut against Patricia Hardy, a non-fundamentalist, non-creationist Republican. If Hardy loses to this person, then the YEC’s will flip to a majority on the SBOE and every schoolchild in Texas will be assured of a 19th century education. In other words, they’ll be fuct, and Texas will become as bad a laughingstock as Kansas was a few years back.

What about the Democrats, you ask? Who are they running? Well, no one. Apparently the Democratic party in Texas doesn’t care about the SBOE, preferring to devote its efforts toward the legislature. So that means there’s no outright progressive, solidly pro-science candidate to vote for. The best we have is a moderate Republican. But that’s better than nothing, I imagine.

Now if you think Texas is bad, take a look at Florida. The school boards there are an amazing collection of the most ignorant and obtuse members of society — in Clay County, the board members went on and on, openly discussing the fact that they didn’t know the meaning of “theory” or “concept”, and then went ahead and voted to reject the theory of evolution. They had an overwhelming majority of the community members in attendance argue against their resolution and favoring teaching evolution (again, demonstrating that community members are not as stupid as their school boards), and the board ignored them to vote for the resolution (demonstrating that they are not representative, as well as ignorant.)

I can imagine how the residents of Texas and Florida feel. They’re trusting that their schools are well run, that smart, educated people are in charge of making curriculum decisions, and then one day they wake up and notice that a gang of dumb-as-rocks yahoos with a bizarre religious agenda are calling the shots … and just maybe, after Dover, they’re realizing that these gomers are going to cost the school district a million dollars, as well as crippling the science education of a whole cohort of students.

Wake up NOW. Look at your local school board, and realize that those races are important. Run for office yourself. Start a local group to promote better science education, and recruit candidates from your ranks. Get out and vote. Those counties where the fools have taken hold are facing a few years where the curriculum is going to be wrecked for the students — and those are years that are going to be simply lost to those students. Don’t let it happen to your schools.


  1. Nan says

    Thank you for saying what I’ve been saying out in the real world for years — if you don’t like the way local politics are going (and school boards are definitely local) then get involved and run for office yourself.

  2. says


    As an Englishman, this kind of thing really makes me appreciate the fact that we have a national curriculum set by central government… There are, of course, problems with that idea, especially when vote-hungry politicians pander to fundamentalist loons (Tony Blair, for example), but by and large, our science is uncontroversial.


  3. says

    Yeah. I was at that meeting. It was very informative but at the same time, it’s not like we all left there optimistic. We have a lot of work to do.

    One of the topics that came up was whether or not media attention is good for our side right now. I’m of the opinion that breaking this story through as many media outlets as possible is a good way to quell this nonsense. No one likes to be laughed at, so hopefully a large amount of media coverage will keep the kooks from pushing their agenda any further.

    So thanks for blogging this PZ.

    Chris Comer got a standing ovation, by the way.

  4. TheFeshy says

    I disagree that those years will be simply “lost.” Unlearning the wrong takes far longer and is far harder than simply learning the right way to start with. It’s really worse than simply being lost.

  5. Xopher says

    So far my community’s school hasn’t gone down the creationism road. But it’s a very fundie-friendly area in northern Michigan, so it wouldn’t shock me if that sort of nonsense didn’t start bubbling up to the surface.

    Now here’s the kind of strange thing. I was asked last spring by a high school science teacher to run for the school board, but decided not to because of my work schedule.

    His motivation for asking me was that the teachers’ contracts were up for renegotiation and he was looking for someone who would be labor friendly (which I definitely would be). So I don’t think this issue was a factor in his thinking, although he’s a very solid-science biology teacher who I don’t think would be very happy about creationism being introduced to the curriculum. (My step-daughter is one of his students.)

    But now I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t have taken the leap then, just to bolster the non-religious-goober element on the board…just in case.

    I may have to reconsider in the next election…


  6. says

    The longest line in which I’ve stood waiting to vote was once when the school board was up for election–many people were concerned about a proposal that would have led to increased taxes. I think in general, voters are more concerned about paying for schools than what goes on inside. Nevertheless, the Dover race (when voters booted out the morons) was hotly contested (financial matters were also important in that race, but God-in-School definitely added to the emotions). Next time the issue goes to court, the Creationists should not be let off so easily–paying the full court costs may be a stronger deterrent.

  7. TGH says

    I just check with my local county school board, and found this about our newly elected 2008 chairman…

    “Dr. Keith Ray Elected 2008 School Board Chairman

    The School Board elected Dr. Keith Ray as 2008 School Board Chairman. Dan Moravec was elected Vice Chairman, and Megan Hickerson was re-elected as Board Secretary.
    Dr. Ray, Board member for Area 27, serves as associate chaplain and assistant professor of religion at Furman University (uh-oh). He is a former member of the Simpsonville Rotary Club; Rotary Board of Directors; was named 2000 Rotarian of the Year; and a former member of the Golden Strip Child and Family Center. He currently serves on the United Ministries board, and is coordinator of doctoral theses for the Institute for Worship Studies in Orange Park, Florida (UH-OH). He served as a United Methodist minister in Greenville County for 15 years.(ARRGH!!)”

    YIKES! I’m definitely going to have to get more involved, I guess…

  8. says

    I believe that ridicule will be a very effective tool. It may wake some people out of their apathy towards the school board. I will be running, and Chris, my platform will not solely be about science education it will also be about labor negotiations.

    The school board here in Mounds View, MN has been good to teachers so far, but I don’t think it is okay to let that ride as if it will always be. In 2006 we had a levy referendum to increase the funding for the schools and it Barely Squeaked By. Even then, those opposed tried to de-certify the election because of a misprint on the ballots in one precinct.

    Paul Dorr, an ass who sees his life mission as destroying the public school system, hired on as a consulant to the Robbinsdale, MN anti-public schools forces when there was an election there. He uses some very clever tricks to defeat referendums, and I even got one of his robo-dials because the prefix for my cell phone is in the Robbinsdale exchange.

    He made some outrageous claims about overspending in the school district that has been rated as most efficient in Hennepin County. He even claimed that phonics is a better solution and a less expensive one than special education to help students achieve. Before he was hired, the community was behind the referendum, but they ultimately voted it down.

    If I get elected I will be fighting for science education without religious interference, but I also don’t want our teachers trying to teach math with abacuses or science with outdated equipment.

    PZ is dead on the target here. Running in school board elections is a stated strategy of religious fundamentalists as they build their power base. Michele Bachmann, perhaps the most ignorant person to ever serve in Congress (and that is saying a lot) started her political career at the school board level.

    But, Chris, even if you don’t have time to run and serve at the school board level, would you consider volunteering for a curriculum committee? Are they available in your area?

  9. says

    Hate to say it, but there’s something of a logical error in your assertion that members of the community aren’t as stupid as members of a community’s school board when based upon the people who show up at a school board meeting to oppose efforts to insert a wedge into a science classroom.

    That is, the people who oppose such an effort have a particular motivation to attend and are those who likely care most about education to begin with. They’re the ones who follow what’s being discussed at some particular board meeting and, most importantly, are the ones who feel like they’re about to lose something. People who support school board Creationist efforts often aren’t as motivated to show up because the people who represent them are already in the room; their representatives are the ones in charge. They’re not motivated to show up because they’ve already gotten what they want — a school board that has written a resolution that waters down science education.

    I don’t think it’s a valid inference to say that Creationist school boards in Texas or Florida are necessarily not representing a majority of their overall constituencies, then, based exclusively on the people who show up to argue the opposing point of view. It is at least as likely, and perhaps moreso, that those school boards are doing exactly what they were elected to do, and that the majority of those they represent actually support their efforts. People who show up at the meetings are, in other words, an extremely biased sample of the community as a whole. Perhaps 50 people show up and speak against wedge resolutions — and perhaps those are the only 50 people in a community of 150,000 who feel that way. The other 149,950 residents of Jerkwater County may well want “evolution” to be turned into a swear word, but since it’s already happening, why sit through a boring meeting for two hours in the hopes of getting three minutes to voice support for what’s already being done?

  10. says

    OT, but I wanted to bring your attention to some current postings by olvlzl at http://www.echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/ ranting about “Darwinism.” There’s a lot of your favorite gibberish, including quote mining and frank misrepresentation of fact (e.g., But those species or sub-species for which dying out has been demonstrated aren’t large in number.)

    I don’t know much about olvlzl, except that I’ve found a lot of his/her writings to be muddled and obtuse. He/she claims to have been a member of Science for the People. I think this refers to the group that poured water on E. O. Wilson in 1979, not the more modern group of the same name.

    Full disclosure 1: I think Echidne’s terrific, apart from giving olvlzl a platform on her blog.

    Full disclosure 2: I added my ranting to the mix. If I said something dumb or misguided, I’ll take my lumps from the better informed.

  11. dogmeatib says

    I wouldn’t necessarily condemn the Democrats for not running a candidate. My reasoning is this, the incumbent is a moderate Republican, acceptable if not desirable to the Democrats. The opponent is a whack-job YEC. Now given the voting tendencies in Texas, went to a Democrat twice in the last 40 years of presidential elections, has had one democratic governor in 20 years, has had a pair of Republican senators for 20 years, and most of these victories have been by landslides, it doesn’t make sense for the Democrats to run a candidate.

    First, they’re likely to be wasting money and effort on an election they aren’t going to win.

    Second, they could be making matters worse by running a candidate against a moderate, taking votes away from them, and allowing the loony to get into office.

    Sure, you’d love to have your own person in office, but if the person who is already holding the office isn’t as bad as the alternatives, why? A good example of this is Wisconsin. When Feingold, who the Republicans HATE runs for reelection, they’ve often outspent him 7-1, trying to get him out of office. When Kohl, a conservative Democrat runs for office, they put a cardboard cutout up and run them.

    In a sense, they are willing to take a tactical loss in the hope of a strategic victory and, in the process, are accepting a minor retreat, over a catastrophic defeat.

    I don’t know if this is the case for certain, one would have to evaluate the Texas board, see what the political affiliation is of their members, see what their margin of victory was, if they break it up into districts, do Democrats even have a chance of winning in that district, etc.

  12. Xopher says

    @ Mike #8

    I’ll have to check too see if there’s a curriculum committee, but I suspect that if there is, it’s just a smaller subset of the school board.

    I think I’d rather be an actual voting member of the board, even if there is a separate curriculum committee.

    There’s a lot to consider here. Good people need to start standing up to this insanity.


  13. Chris says

    “Tony Campolo is professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University and served as pastoral counselor to former President Clinton…..

    Those who argue at school board meetings that Darwin should be taught in public schools seldom have taken the time to read him. If they knew the full title of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, they might have gained some inkling of the racism propagated by this controversial theorist. Had they actually read Origin, they likely would be shocked to learn that among Darwin’s scientifically based proposals was the elimination of “the negro and Australian peoples,” which he considered savage races whose continued survival was hindering the progress of civilization.

    In his next book, The Descent of Man (1871), Darwin ranked races in terms of what he believed was their nearness and likeness to gorillas. Then he went on to propose the extermination of races he “scientifically” defined as inferior. If this were not done, he claimed, those races, with much higher birthrates than “superior” races, would exhaust the resources needed for the survival of better people, eventually dragging down all civilization.

    Darwin even argued that advanced societies should not waste time and money on caring for the mentally ill, or those with birth defects. To him, these unfit members of our species ought not to survive.”

    To read the full text go here http://www.philly.com/inquirer/currents/20080120_The_real_danger_in_Darwin_is_not_evolution__but_racism.html

  14. kdaddy says


    Some hope for you. The United Methodist church is a supporter of theistic evolution, so at least your guy may not be pushing creationism. Our local UM church participates strongly in Darwin Day activities. Not that I for TE myself, but it’s not as bad as the alternative.

  15. BaldApe says

    “Creationists should not be let off so easily–paying the full court costs may be a stronger deterrent.”

    To bad there’s no death penalty for stoopid. /irony mode

    Much of the problem is that candidates don’t often tell their real positions. They get the churches to pass the word for them, and in a local election, with few people really knowing anything, that’s often enough to get a majority.

    The other problem is that it’s so easy to consider the argument won. I mean, after the Monkey Trial, they were pretty much beaten, right? That’s what a lot of people thought. But reality is that they go underground, change tactics (cdesign proponentsists)and come back with even stupider arguments.

    I’m glad to see Mike (the Englishman) adding weight to my suggestion that a national curriculum would be best. I doubt the creationists could win. After Dover, I just don’t see it on a national level.

  16. kdaddy says

    Interesting link. Yikes! It’s amazing how easy it is for fundies to lie for Jesus. More moral, my ass.

  17. Richard Simons says

    An alternative to a national curriculum would be for the universities to specify what they expect in students. When I went through high school in Britain (several decades ago!) the examinations were administered by the universities (I was in the Northern Universities area). Realistically it’s not going to happen because no-one wants to lose power.

  18. says

    Another problem is that aside from elections like the ones that Mark (comment #6) mentioned in which taxes are an issue, school board elections tend to be low profile. Many fundies got their tart running in these low-profile races (read Wilcox’s “Onward Christian Soldiers” or Martin’s “With God on Our Side). What we need is more scientists and highly educated people to run for these lower offices and to start doing some real public service.

  19. raven says

    Darwin Origin of species …Preservation of favored races…Chapter 1.

    Character of Domestic Varieties; Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species; Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species
    When we look to the hereditary varieties or races of our domestic animals and plants, and compare them with closely allied species, we generally perceive in each domestic race, as already remarked, less uniformity of character than in true species.

    Chris, have you always been a Liaristian or are you a born again Liaristian? You do know that race in biology has a somewhat archaic meaning of variety, breed, cultivar, or subspecies. Darwin in chapter 1 discusses domestic plants and animals as “races” and notes that the various races differ among each other. Ever looked at dogs and cats? The various breeds or races don’t look like each other.

    And BTW, racism predates Darwin by several thousand years. Your bible is full of it. According to the bible you can take and keep slaves but only if they are from neighboring tribes. The USA was a slave holding country long before Darwin wrote his book.

  20. Barb says

    Chris, it sounds like you haven’t read “On the Origin of Species . . . ” yourself. How do you know that the website you refer to isn’t quote mining, which I’m sure you know is a common practice of anti-evolutionists?

    Btw, I have read Richard Leakey’s annotated and abridged version of The Origin, but it was a long time ago. I hope someone with sufficient expertise can respond to your claims. I suspect some of them are either exagerrated or outright falsehoods. (I do know, for instance, that Darwin was an ardent abolitionist, as were all the Darwins and Wedgewoods. He was undoubtely a racial liberal for his time.)

    However, whether I’m right or wrong about that (I can consider the possibility of being wrong, can you, Chris?), whatever racist or engenicist beliefs Darwin may have held are obviously separable from his scientific work. The views you ascribe to Darwin would have been widely held in his time and held by many people who were not believers in evolution. (How about looking up Soapy Sam Wilberforce’s views on social matters, for instance. I’d be amazed if he came out looking more progressive than Darwin.) And just as you can be a racist without being an evolutionist, you can be an evolutionist without being a racist: extremely few people today who support evolution hold such views.

    And of course, you do know, don’t you Chris, that it is a logical fallacy to draw ANY ethical conclusions from ANY fact about the natural world? You cannot go from “is” to “ought.”

  21. ennui says

    Do not conflate the teaching of evolution with the ethical implications of Darwin’s writings. Modern biology makes little more than a polite nod to his ethical conclusions that provided fodder for Nazis.

    Neither biology nor TOE answer any ethical questions, and do not make an attempt. TOE explains the variety and complexity of species, and is vastly larger than Darwin.

  22. Chris says

    Sorry I wasn’t more clear on my original post, I didn’t want to post a long drawn out post. I just wanted to post the link for others too read and gawk (sp?) at. It was written by a sociologist, which surprises me cause one would think as a sociologist he would recognize that human race is not biological but a cultural concept. I have yet to read Origins or Descent, but will read them in the future. I have a long list of books to read so it may be awhile before I get around to it. However, from what I do know, Herbert Spencer was the Social Darwinists not Darwin himself and believe he was the one that came up with the idea which Darwin opposed. Darwin accepted Spencer’s “Survival of the Fittest” term but did not accept Spencer’s views on Survival of the Fittest.

  23. Kagehi says

    Hmm. Lets be clear Ennui. Its been said before that Hitler **hated** Darwin, because Darwin implied that there couldn’t be any such thing as a “master race”, so its just as disingenuous to claim that Nazism derived from Darwin’s ideas, instead of something like Lamarkianism, which ***did*** claim that creatures evolved towards a more perfect state. Don’t feed the Liarsaurus Rex crumbs of questionable information, its just as bad as feeding it whole lies, and encourages it to spout more gibberish.

  24. Barb says

    Sorry for the falsely aimed snarky comments, Chris. I should have noticed the quote marks, but even so there was no suggestion at all in your post that you disagreed with “Dr.” Tony. Perhaps there needs to be a corollary to Poe’s Law stating something like, In any discussion of evolution it will not be obvious, without explicitly saying so, that you find something you’re quoting completely ridiculous.

    Everybody, please substitute the name “Tony” for “Chris” in my post.

  25. Chris says

    LOL. I thought about that before I hit the post button. I should have gone with my instinct but I didn’t.

  26. says

    *waves at BaldApe*

    Ta much. My issue lately with education in this country has been mostly with Blair’s Academies, which send me into a spinning shitfit. Mostly because they are abject failures which accomplish exactly the opposite of what they were supposed to, plus they’re havens for every whackjob out there with a desire to warp young minds (see the King’s Academy group) and they exclude (expel) pupils at much higher than the national average. Gaaah! I can’t even type about them without getting high blood pressure.

    Richard Simons: GCSEs are administered by 5 licensed examination boards these days and have to adhere to standards set by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (basically a quango), and they all resulted from mergers of the existing regional boards. Frankly, though, the whole system is a freaking mess, especially with the new diplomas being added in, and wants tearing down and starting again.

  27. ennui says

    Yes, let’s be clear. I celebrate Darwin for his immense contribution to Science. The Nazis misapprehended Darwin, Christianity, Nietzsche, et al, to justify their persecution of Jews. But the focus of TOE education in biology classes should not be Darwin’s science, not his extra-scientific beliefs.

    If Darwin accepted teleological arguments for abiogenesis (he did), or quoted the Bible as a moral authority (he did), it has no bearing on the science at hand. Darwin was a man, not a saint, and science is not a cult of personality. That was my point.

  28. Don Smith, FCD says

    I can imagine how the residents of Texas and Florida feel. They’re trusting that their schools are well run, that smart, educated people are in charge of making curriculum decisions,

    Oh, I don’t think the (reasonable) people here in FL think any such thing. The retirees move down here from somewhere up north and proceed to vote down as much funding for public schools as they can. “I don’t have any kids. Why should I pay to educate someone else’s kids?” Palm Beach county had a rule that no school could be built until there were enough children living in the area to justify one. Good for low taxes bad for education. No art or music classes because those rooms were needed for classrooms. And they still had to rent trailers for classrooms.

    Selfish bastard idiots.

    Oh and adding to the problem were the parents who could afford to send their kids to private school and not caring to do anything about the public schools. (Palm Beach and Boca Raton anyway).

  29. says

    Ennui posted (#29): “The Nazis misapprehended Darwin, Christianity, Nietzsche, et al, to justify their persecution of Jews.”

    Uh, ennui…see if any of this sounds familiar:

    “First to set fire to (the Jews’) synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn…”
    “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. …”
    “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. …”
    “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. …”
    “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. …”
    “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them. …”
    “Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow… For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”
    “If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country…we must drive them out like mad dogs.”

    This was written by Martin Luther, in 1543 – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_jews_and_their_lies

  30. raven says

    “If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country…we must drive them out like mad dogs.”

    This was written by Martin Luther, in 1543 – see wikipedia

    Most real historians, as opposed to fundie Xian liars, trace the Holocaust mostly back to German flavored Xianity.

    Martin Luther comes across as a real loon. Not only was he more antisemitic than even his contemporaries, he believed in all sorts of superstitious nonsense about demons being behind every tree and rock.

    He was right about the Catholics of the time though. The RCC was corrupt and mired in superstition itself.

  31. says

    It’s very bad here in SC. We don’t have any decent candidates willing to stand up for good education. It’s really shameful. :( One of the worst offenders is state Senator Mike Fair, recently one of the guest speakers at a pro-John McCain event. And he is considered the “mainstream” Republican candidate, compared to someone like Huckabee! Ach!

  32. Ichthyic says

    I swear, blog owners really should invoke godwin whenever “nazi” or “hitler” and “darwin” appear in the same post.

    it should be automatic grounds for the circular file or disemvowelment at this point in time.

    so tired of that canard.

    If not immediately trashed, any post reading darwin->hitler should be replaced with just Luther->Hitler without further comment.

  33. says

    Texas school board members are elected by district. My district, fortunately, is represented by a sane person, Mavis Knight.

    In fact we have a lot of sane Democrats in my precinct, in my county (Dallas), and in our school board district. District lines rather prohibit our snatching one of those sane people and running her against the creationist wackoes in other districts.

    Sometimes its problems of geography and not spine that get us into these fixes.

  34. says

    <>Tony Campolo is professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University and served as pastoral counselor to former President Clinton…..

    *headdesk* Shit, I’m a sociologist who teaches race and who is grateful he is emeritus.

  35. Ichthyic says

    recently one of the guest speakers at a pro-John McCain event. And he is considered the “mainstream” Republican candidate, compared to someone like Huckabee! Ach!

    assuming you are still hanging about, the one thing about McCain is that he will change his position at a moments notice.

    in the 2000 election, he was railing against the amount of influence the fundies had on the GoP.

    now he is seeking the support of the fundies to get elected.

    I doubt he would be pushing any fundie legislation if elected, even if i think his methods deplorable in and of themselves.

    I also think that he had the chance to build on the stance he started to make against the fundies in 2000, and has set the GoP BACK by giving up on that.

    all that said, I myself will not be voting republican ANYTHING until they finally start denouncing using the fundies as a voting block.

    I expect that might start happening in earnest in about 8 years or so.

  36. says

    Christianists can run for school boards because many have found the special blessings of disability or ministry. It is truly gawds work that so many of his chillin have been so damaged that they must apply for disability. I am awed at the number of seemingly able-bodied Christianists that have been forced to give up the toil for their daily bread.

    The ministry is one that calls many. It has nothing to do with the tax exemptions or the untraceable cash from tithes. Ask the Duggar family if calling themselves a church has any impact on their life and they will speak of gawds blessings. The ministry also has lots of spare time to attend to the needs of the school district which is filled with ungodly teachers that want to be paid for their work. Isn’t room and board with Mr Duggar enough?

  37. BaldApe says

    “Palm Beach county had a rule that no school could be built until there were enough children living in the area to justify one.”

    Same in Maryland. As a practical matter, this means that by the time a school is built, it is already overcrowded. If I were in charge, the rule would be no occupancy permit for any new homes unless there is an under-capacity school for the kids to go to.

  38. Ichthyic says

    It has nothing to do with the tax exemptions or the untraceable cash from tithes.

    of course not.

    Just ask Kent Hovind.

    oh, wait…

  39. zelda says

    A generation intellectually stunted by religious fundamentalism vs. millions of people in other nations who are getting an actual education….this is exactly how countries like China and India are going to end up OWNING our asses.

  40. says

    *ramble* Holy freaking shit, but ten netz is incestuous – I recognise Ed Darrell from his excellent blog and MAJeff from Pandagon. Seriously, though, are there just like about 100 people who are actually active on the internet? */ramble*

    Ichthyic: Maybe sooner. The fundies’ hold on politics was always down to their being a swing vote rather than a large bloc, and a large number of so-called values voters (because everyone else just votes randomly, right? *rolls eyes*) are turning away from the Reps or about to do so: some because they’re doves, or because they’re disappointed in the absence of fundie judge on the SCOTUS, or what have you.

    This is why the Dems have been playing up the Look-at-me-going-to-church thing the past few years – these swing voters are about to need a political home. It’s like the Reagan Democrats, only this time it’ll be… *thinks* Democratic Fundies.

    Aw, hell, don’t look at me like that. It’s 8:00 a.m. here.

  41. Autumn says

    Man. I live in Florida, thankfully in Gainesville, which has access to much edumacation. I take my son and two stepsons (stepsons are, by their father’s wishes, which I cede to him, pentacostal Christians) to the Florida Museum of Natural History whenever a new traveling exhibit is set up, and back this up with trips to local creeks, where we use kitchen collanders to find the fossilized teeth of long extinct sharks in the sediments. We’ve got a nice little tupperware container of evoloution, and I make sure that all my boys have glimpses into science by showing them (limited, I’m still a parent) posts on this site as well as Phil Plait’s.
    The oldest stepson, who is about to turn ten, is always asking me about science.
    Being a Dad is uber-cool.

  42. says

    *ramble* Holy freaking shit, but ten netz is incestuous – I recognise Ed Darrell from his excellent blog and MAJeff from Pandagon. Seriously, though, are there just like about 100 people who are actually active on the internet? */ramble*

    Nothing more than the intertextuality of publics.

  43. says

    I went to middle and high school in a small town in Texas. This bit about Texas having it’s own science text books is completely true.

    I remember being in honors Biology in the 9th grade and seeing the words “Texas Edition” printed on the cover. I thought it was odd at the time, but when I pointed it out to the other kids they disagreed with me, saying that a lot of things have a Texas editions, like cheeseburgers at McDonald’s.

    It’s fair to point out in all of this that I was not taught evolution in high school.

    Being in honors Biology, my teacher handed out permission slips for kids to learn about evolution, a subject not covered in out text books. The kids whose parents signed got to learn about how the world really works and the rest got to watch a Veggie Tales video or something.

    After a huge fight with my father about whether or not I should learn evolution, the school board ended up overriding my teacher and it was not taught at all.

  44. says

    It’s very bad here in SC. We don’t have any decent candidates willing to stand up for good education.

    Don’t forget our newly appointed chair of the SC BoE. She is a homeschooling mother and member of an anti-science (de)education group.

    Something just not right about a homeschooling mother as the head of the policy making board for the state.

  45. Steve_C says

    That’s so messed up Red. Know wonder public schools are suffering. Parents are sabotaging it. They’re afraid of the deprogramming.

  46. says


    Nothing more than the intertextuality of publics.

    Eek! Post-structuralism! *runs away*


    Something just not right about a homeschooling mother as the head of the policy making board for the state.

    Almost like putting abstinence-only advocates in charge of sexual education. We’re lucky that never happens.

  47. says

    I’m busier than a creationist at Evolution 2008, feeling bad I’m not reading Pharyngula more, and so once I drop in and some guy thinks I and MAJeff hang out here all the time? Nuts.

    About Tony Campolo: He shoulda known better. He’s old. I’d almost wager somebody else wrote the column.

    But P.Z. is right, Christians need to take these guys to task.

    So I did:

    Does anyone read the Philly Inquirer any more?

  48. says

    Besides the Texas Board of Education & the TEA, there’s also the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to keep an eye on. The THECB was going to act this week following recommendations IN FAVOR of accrediting a masters degree in “Science Education” offered by the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School [sic].

    The decision has been postponed until April. Meanwhile, I think the rest of the country needs to let Texas know that if they are interpreting their standards to allow certification for teachers prepared in such a program, then other states can no longer trust Texas accreditation and certification through inter-state reciprocity agreements; and Texas-licensed science teachers cannot be presumed to satisfy the requirement of No Child Left Behind to have a “highly qualified teacher” in every classroom.

    See http://curricublog.org/2008/01/12/icr-nclb/

  49. says

    Ed: Sorry. It was just seeing someone whose blog I read with much enjoyment on a daily basis (I’m working through some of the backlog at MFB), and then having seen MAJeff over at Pandagon… Serves me right for being a filthy lurker.

  50. says

    It really is Steve. The worst part of the whole thing is the indoctrination. The kids don’t even question why they have a special version of their science textbook, even though there is no Texas edition of their English or History textbook. They never even asked about it.