Today I heard the news... Governor Rick Perry appointed Dr. Don McLeroy as the Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. All I can say is Texans, be prepared for another showdown.
In 2003, I testified at the textbook hearings where opponents of evolution tried to water it down by introducing so called "strengths and weaknesses" (when in reality that is a farce). Don McLeroy was on the Board then but not Chair. When I walked in, of the 15 members, he sat there with a huge posterboard displaying:
Copernicus’ “Heliocentric” Hypothesis—Yes
Darwin’s “Common Descent” Hypothesis—NO
Along with various other things on the posterboard refuting Darwin. Whatever. Here's a link to his website which has much of the info. He was utterly horrible in the hearing - interrupting other members, asking very loaded questions of people who did not have the expertise to answer, and then not asking the actual scientific experts - which included Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg among other notable experts - the questions that they could have answered. It was done, I'm sure, to create the aura of people not having answers when it comes to evolution. But he'd ask students! Not the professors!
All I can say is, thank God my kids go to a private Episcopal school! (Yes, the Episcopal denomination accepts and teaches evolution). I was thinking about putting them in public for high school but surely not if this guy gets his hands on their textbooks. His behavior at the 2003 hearing was appalling. Here's a quote of his about evolution from the Dallas Morning News article linked below, "It is wrong to teach opinion as fact," he said. So he's not even arguing points about the science, he calls the whole 200 years of evolutionary biology studies "opinion." And he now heads our TX State Board.
Oh, and he's a dentist, not an academic but sure loves to use that doctor moniker.
The Dallas Morning News has this article, Conservative to Lead State Education Board: Perry picks chairman as panel prepares to revisit several course standards.
2007 is the year our textbook standards are up for revisiting. Help us dear God!