Texas school madness, and a potential cure

By Phil Plait | September 23, 2010 10:29 am

texas_smallI cannot fathom how the members of the Texas State Board of Education can continue to surprise me with their complete and utter disregard for reality, yet here we are: they’re complaining about a pro-Islam bias in textbooks.

Yes, the same people who try to wedge the Bible into science textbooks, want to teach creationism, want to downplay evolution, want to eradicate the Big Bang, and want to downplay the Constitutional clause establishing separation of Church and State, are worried about someone trying to force their religion into the textbooks.

KABLAM!

Sorry. That was my irony gland turning into antimatter and exploding outward at the speed of light.

Without any apparent sense of self-awareness, Randy Rives, who wrote a resolution to the BoE condemning the textbooks, said,

"If you can control or influence our education system, you can start taking over the minds of the young people," Mr. Rives said. "And so I think we are real passionate that you need to make a bold statement to the publishers that pushing this agenda will not be tolerated in Texas."

Taking over the minds of young people? Heaven forbid.

I suppose I should point out that even if this is true, and pro-Islam statements are being put into textbooks, the answer is not to replace them with pro-Christianity statements. I would think this would be obvious, but when it comes to human behavior I think lots of stuff that turns out not to be correct.

So what can we do to push back against the Texas BoE’s apparently interminable fight against reality? My co-blogger Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection points out that two women are running for seats on the Texas Board of Education, and both are highly qualified and equipped with long experience in education… and one of them, Judy Jennings, has a PhD in educational psychology!

Of course, that in and of itself is not a qualification for a seat on the Board, any more than being a dentist disqualifies you. But it does provide me with a glimmer of hope.

I would love nothing more than to be able to write that Texas voters actually elected reasonable, qualified people to the Board, instead of continually having to write about how the antireality, antiscience, antiConstitutional members keep attacking the very basis of our country’s educational foundation. Check out the web pages for Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Judy Jennings, and Sheril notes there is a donation page for their campaigns on Act Blue as well.

Otherwise… well, you know.

Texas: doomed


Related posts:

Texas conservatives screw history
One backwards leap for Texas
CA to TX: We’ve got our eye on you
Texas: Doomed


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (82)

  1. Messier Tidy Upper

    Yes, the same people who try to wedge the Bible into science textbooks, want to teach creationism, want to downplay evolution, want to eradicate the Big Bang, and want to downplay the Constitutional clause establishing separation of Church and State, are worried about someone trying to force their religion into the textbooks.

    Yes but Islam is a false religion as opposed to *their* religion which is the One True Faith so therefore .. ;-)

    Actually, its more likely all politics. :roll:

    ***

    BTW. Surprised you haven’t yet blogged on the recently elected Delaware (?) Tea Party Republican Palin-clone who apparently preaches abstinence and yet admitted she used to practice “witchcraft” as a teen. Or once dated someone who did or similar nonsense? Name of Christine O’Donnell or suchlike unless my memory &/or hearing is mistaken? Saw that on the news a day or two ago.

  2. It’s all about projection. They are trying to take over the government with their religion and so they assume that everybody else has precisely the same motivation. If they don’t do it then surely we’ll end up having Sharia law!!

  3. jasonB

    @Messier Tidy Upper

    Yea, that witchcraft in her past is so much worse than all the cocaine , in his past, our current president admitted to.

  4. Mark

    @ Messier Tidy Upper: She’s not elected yet, she only won the Republican nomination against a guy who was considered a shoe-in.

  5. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Mark : Well that’s something I guess. Thanks.

    @3. Jason B. : I’m no huge fan of Obama’s either, For Whatever Its Worth. :-(

    I am absolutely disgusted, and feel totally betrayed by Obama’s NASA (esp. human spaceflight) policy which I think utterly stinks & I have said so here strongly many times before. I’ve also criticised some of Obama’s other terrible policies here too incl, his evident pro-Muslim anti-Israeli bias.

    However, Obama’s drug use &/or other problems doesn’t make her whackiness any better.
    Its irrelevant to her specific case.

  6. RMcbride

    OH the hypocricy. What are the chances that the people who vote in Texas will wake up the stupidity going on?

  7. CW

    If the fundamentalists maintain control of the Texas BoE, then when you start making more episodes of Bad Universe – please swap Sydney, Australia for whatever building the Texas BoE meets at.

  8. You forget the United States founding fathers were Christian not Islamic.

  9. SLC

    Re Messier Tidy Upper

    I agree with Prof. Bob Park and Prof. Steven Weinberg, downgrading the manned space exploration program was long overdue. Many kudos’ to President Obama for listening to scientists like them. But of course, we know that there are those on this blog who claim that Park and Weinberg don’t know what they are talking about, which population obviously includes Mr. Messier.

  10. Let’s keep in mind that it ain’t just Texas that’s doomed with these maroons making textbook decisions…Texas is such a huge market that it essentially drives what gets put into textbooks around the rest of the country.

  11. nicholas suntzeff

    Phil,

    You are right, but another solution is to have more people like you MOVE to Texas instead of vegan states like Colorado, California, or Massachusetts. We need help down here. Like minded people from Texas tell me how they finally escaped from here, which I find sad. Actually, there is a significant progressive bent to Texas despite everything you read in the papers. Dr. McElroy, the guy who caused a lot of the problems on the TSBE, is a local here near College Station, so we get a lot of chance to discuss his positions here.

    In fact, we need to get you to give a talk here at A&M on Bad Astronomy provided that bad astronomy does not include my research!

    nick

  12. Michel

    grrrrrrrreligion grrrrrrrrrrrr

  13. For once, I agree with Messier – it’s not really ironic (on Obama, though…). From their perspective, there’s a truth which Texan children need to hear in school. Then there are cunningly concocted falsehoods such as evolution and Islam that need to be guarded against.

    They really see Islam and evolution as being more like each other (having their origin in ‘human’ – i.e. corrupt – desires to conceal the reality about God) than either of them is like (their brand of) Christianity.

    The fact that the Constitution talks about something called ‘religion’ is a relative detail, compared to that.

  14. Maybe text books with a pro-Pastafarian slant are needed… ~Ramen~

  15. BJN

    Welcome to the People’s Republic of Texas, please leave your facts at the border.

    Give up your math classes too, they use Arabic numerals.

  16. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ BJN : And, worse, the maths teachers try and indoctrinate the kids in that nasty Arabic movement Al-Gebra! ;-)

  17. Dan

    “You forget the United States founding fathers were Christian not Islamic.”

    Irrelevant, as they founded the country as a non-religious state. Moreover, they majority of them, while Christian, were not exactly Bible-thumpers. They were mostly Deists.

  18. JoeSmithCA

    Texas doesn’t seem to be dooming the rest of the world, I’m just going to ignore it all like skin cancer and hope it just goes away on its own.

  19. Messier Tidy Upper

    @8. Davidlpf :

    Did you see this discussion here a while ago :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/08/are-the-ten-commandments-really-the-basis-for-our-laws/

    by any chance?

    —-

    Hmm .. What’s the bet someone else is also posting this link right now too? Oh well. ;-)

  20. NewEnglandBob

    They prefer to be the ones blowing smoke up someone’s ass

  21. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ NewEnglandBob : Is that legal there? ;-)

  22. Also I know the big bang theory makes fun of Texas at times but does that give Texas the right to eradicate the show.

  23. I was especially surprised by one of the BoE blowhards going on at some length about a history textbook’s table of contents. It doesn’t seem that this guy even got to the first page before deciding to challenge the book.

  24. DrFlimmer

    Well, haven’t seen the “Texas: doomed” picture in…well…months! Too bad that it has to appear again and again from time to time like a cold.

    *atchoo* — Bless you! (oh, well… ;))

    @ Messier Tidy Upper (#16)

    I intended to complain about your second post (#5), again, however the joke in (#16) was so good that I won’t do it! “Al-Gebra” :-D Awesome!

  25. @Messier Tidy Upper

    Interestingly enough…
    Etymology of the word Algebra:
    “1550s, from M.L. from Arabic al jebr “reunion of broken parts,” as in computation, used 9c. by Baghdad mathematician Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi as the title of his famous treatise on equations ( “Kitab al-Jabr w’al-Muqabala” “Rules of Reintegration and Reduction”), which also introduced Arabic numerals to the West. The accent shifted 17c. from second syllable to first. The word was used in Eng. 15c.-16c. to mean “bone-setting,” probably from the Arabs in Spain. ”

    Source: algebra. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/algebra (accessed: September 23, 2010).

    … but I guess the contributions of Islamic civilization to science and mathematics might be too “Pro-Islamic” for the likes of the Texas school bard to consider.

  26. Daniel J. Andrews

    Makes you want to see their face when they say it just in case they’re giving a wink or smirk because you can’t believe they’re actually saying it in all seriousness. Gotta be a Poe, you hope, but nope. KABLAM indeed!

  27. Charlie Rocker

    So, like, what’s the opposite of Texas? And is it located on Earth?

  28. michael

    Well, the truth is that students aren’t learning a damn thing anyway with ANY textbook, so this is really a moot point. They should just pass out IPads every morning with the days lessons on it and send the kids home…save lots of money.

  29. jasonB

    Sorry Messier

    I may have jumped a little hasty there. But at this point if she helps stop spending money we just don’t have and sticks to the original intent of the Constitution (the limits on government) instead of treating it as a “living, breathing document” (meaning the government can do any thing it wants) she can go to work in a pointy hat with a broom and a cat for all I care.

  30. Steve Metzler

    From the linked article:

    The measure says past textbooks devoted more lines to Islamic beliefs and practices than to Christianity and spelled out atrocities committed by Christian crusaders while ignoring similar atrocities by Muslim fighters.

    In other words, it’s balance they’re looking for. A balance of atrocities. Makes sense.

  31. Chris Winter

    Messier Tidy Upper wrote: “Name of Christine O’Donnell or suchlike unless my memory &/or hearing is mistaken?”

    Christine O’Donnell is the name. She has other wacky beliefs, including that scientists have created mice with “fully functioning human brains.” Although, to be painfully fair, that may be a misstatement of what she meant to say. But she hasn’t corrected herself AFAIK.

    I doubt the lady will be elected; she has all kinds of problems including financial improprieties.

  32. MarcusBailius

    I’d like to say, being British, that this is just confirming my prejudices about, well, Texans in particular. But it seems really sad…

    What is it with Texans? Are they just not eating enough green vegetables?!

  33. Jim

    This paranoia over the “Al-” prefix befuddles me. It’s pretty much “the,” one of the links between Arabic and the possessives in most Romantic languages. It may have some religious connotations in some situations, but no more so than any other possessive* in any other language.

    *It’s not just a possessive, but this is an astronomy blog, not a linguistic one.

  34. Nemesis

    @Phil

    I live in Texas. and I can tell you irony and satire are wasted on a majority of the crowd around these parts. I want to crawl under a rock.

    I feel like I have to correct people constantly, to save them from the misinformation. So much of what is “known” around here are remnants from a bygone era. Everyday somebody tells me “The daddy long leg’s the most poisonous spider in the world but it caint [sic] bite you because its mouth is too small.” They call cicadas “locusts”, vultures “buzzards”. People don’t know the difference between bees and wasps. Nobody knows what a trans fat is, grown people eat like little bratty 6-year-old kids, nobody recycles and the roads are strewn with litter, people water their shrubs, they think every snake or predator should be killed. I once saw a guy spotlight and shoot an owl. It’s like I’m stuck in a redneck episode of “Ozzie and Harriet” or something, where the past 60 years of scientific discovery and social progress mean nothing and everybody- but me- is fine with it.

    It could be a wonderful place to live, but the customarily ignorant and oppressive nature of its citizens has made it look like a big punchline.

    This new predicament should have the members of the BOE saying “Hmmm, maybe history should be honest and unbiased, since the bias can also work against us.” They’ll just find a new way to limit the thinking of the students who are forced to endure their teachings.

    @MarcusBailius

    Not all Texans are bible beaters. Someday things might get better but, until then I aim to withdraw from society and start sending “care packages” to members of the BOE.

  35. What we need to do is goad them into exercising their right to recede from the union.

  36. @jasonB #29: If elected, O’Donnell is unlikely to do any of those things.

  37. Nemesis

    @Rhacodactylus

    The tax revenue from Texas is nothing to sneeze at. Our GSP is comparable to the GDP of Canada. We’d be OK (just dumb) but the rest of the country would surely be effed and, more than likely, a war would result from our secession.

  38. Chris in Texas

    You gotta get those kids young before they start thinking for themselves.

    As a Texan and father of three I’ve watched this with concern. Ive noticed that the subtext has changed from religion in schools…to christian religion in schools. They don’t want any of those OTHER religions in schools.

    At the same time I haven’t seen any of this show up at my kids schools.

    On the Secession topic…I’m offering free bumper stickers…Morons for Secession.

  39. Charlie Rocker:

    So, like, what’s the opposite of Texas? And is it located on Earth?

    Apparently, it’s here:

    http://www.pondboss.com/articles/The-Opposite-of-Texas

  40. Nemesis

    @39

    Those bumper stickers should go over well at the RoT rally.

  41. Your Name Here

    Oh god, the world’s gone mad…

    (what’s this ‘kalmbach publishing’ doing at the bottom here?)

  42. GeekGoddess

    @Nemesis: Everyday somebody tells me “The daddy long leg’s the most poisonous spider in the world but it caint [sic] bite you because its mouth is too small.” They call cicadas “locusts”, vultures “buzzards”. People don’t know the difference between bees and wasps. Nobody knows what a trans fat is, grown people eat like little bratty 6-year-old kids, nobody recycles and the roads are strewn with litter, people water their shrubs, they think every snake or predator should be killed. I once saw a guy spotlight and shoot an owl.

    I don’t know where you live, but those comments could be from any rural area in any state. Believe me, I’ve worked in the outback of Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana, and you find undereducated people everywhere.

    I live in the Woodlands, and it’s pristine, beautiful, clean, and one of the highest per-capita income levels in the country.

  43. Mike

    Quote Professor Farnsworth: I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  44. Daniel J. Andrews

    Just found this SBMC cartoon–it applies to politicians but would work equally well with these school board representatives. :)

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2008

  45. G Williams

    I should do my obligatory ‘Texas Doesn’t Work That Way’ speech at this point, but you can probably find that in any other ‘Texas: Doomed’ post so I’ll just remind everyone that despite the school board seats technically being elected positions, hardly anyone actually votes in the relevant elections, and even fewer people actually pay attention to any of the candidates actual positions or qualifications.
    In reality, only a minority of Texans agree with or are really anything like any of the positions of any elected officials in the state, and especially such seemingly minor positions as the state school board.

    I know this isn’t particularly flattering to the Texas population either, but I think it’s more important to dis-spell the myth that all Texans are doomed, ignorant religious whack-jobs that to comment on the ridiculously complexity of Texas constitutional and election law and the Apathy of the majority of Texas voters (well, not even apathy, as a large number of Texas voters are actively discouraged from voting via various scare tactics of the religious right)

    And don’t even get me started on the independent school district system!

  46. Steve Metzler

    Your Name Here (#42) said:

    Oh god, the world’s gone mad…

    (what’s this ‘kalmbach publishing’ doing at the bottom here?)

    Nothing sinister, I think. According to Wiki, Kalmbach are the publishers of Discover Magazine. They just made their presence a little more prominent…

  47. Phil,
    posting from Austin where I am helping to write the new physics end of course test. Science education is getting a lot better here. This new stuff is going to be tough and raise standards.

  48. As a member of the reality-based community and a recently-arrived-Texan (after 18-odd years in SE Michigan, though my origins are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has more evangelicals per capita than any other place in the known universe, so the deja vu of “Suddenly, it’s 1950!” I get so often here has a basis in reality), I’d like to apologize and say I just haven’t been here long enough to impact the voting results yet. Give me another few weeks to the General Election…

    But as Nemesis (#35), GeekGoddess (#43), and James (#48) said, there are forces of Science! at work trying to make things better here. But it’s a almost vertically-uphill battle, and we need help. The evangelical whackaloons have enough cash to throw down for Palin to parachute in and provide additional vacuous Alaskan aw-shuckisms to bolster their cause, and the reality-based community just simply can’t pass the offering plate at 3 services Sunday morning, 1 Sunday evening, 1 Wednesday evening, and 1 Saturday evening to raise funds to counter the crackpot onslaught.

    This is the first time I can recall that the evangelicals are running openly instead of as “stealth” candidates, too. Their usual M.O., particularly on school board and state Board of Education positions, is to put up bland unknowns who issue bland, even logical position statements, then, once elected, tear off the beige oversuit to become Educational Crusaders for Juh-HEE-zus, The Three-Syllable Savior! The one thing this Tea Party nonsense has done that might even remotely be positive is that it’s shining a lot of light into previously shadowy corners. Yes, they’re more organized and better funded (anyone else see the piece in The New Yorker on the Koch brothers?) than the reality-based community previously thought. It’s harder to play Whack-A-Mole with them once the stealth candidates uncloak because, like shark’s teeth, another one is ready to slot in where the first one was removed.

    And let’s not even get me started on the futility of teaching to regurgitate rote memorization onto a #@#$@# standardized test instead of learning proper problem setup & solving skills, as well as critical thinking skills. What we’ve done across the country in the last 15 or so years is create an entire generation of kids who get out of high school knowing how to handle a standardized test but who have no clue whatsoever how the real world operates and how to cope, nevermind succeed, in it.

    Thankfully, the young engineers that survive our interview process are coming out of universities and co-op/internship programs that give them a crash course in the right skills, but I’ve seen so many come through without even the first clue as to how the world operates, and that makes me sad, because if they don’t get it soon, we’ll all be supporting them as they’re incapable of supporting themselves.

  49. Brian Too

    The TBoE is just fine with the impressionable young being “influenced”. They just want to be the ones doing the influencing. And they don’t want any of those “facts”, “knowledge”, and “education” getting in their way.

    The narrow, selfish, and bigoted nature of this position, of people who bear responsibility for the education of children, needs little further comment. Suffice it to say they are looking to raise mental clones, not people.

    The world is a whole lot bigger than Texas and the TBoE would willfully ignore that. Funny that the root word of “ignorance” is “ignore”.

  50. Tribeca Mike

    Messier Tidy Upper — Regarding Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, not to worry, since she wasn’t “elected” the other day but merely won the GOP primary. If she wins the general election in November (which I doubt, Delaware being a moderate to liberal state generally), that would be a different story.

    If she does lose, I wonder if the Reps will accuse the Dems of being on a witch hunt?

    Like many other races across the land, this one will likely depend on voter turn-out, and I sincerely hope my fellow lib-progressives won’t do one of their patented “Everything’s not perfect after two years so I’m staying home, nyah nyah nyah” routines like they did in 1984 and once again hand the Congress over to the Regressive Party.

  51. @Jim

    The paranoia over the particle “Al-” disturbs me as well, since it’s part of my name. Actually I’ve been wanting to have my name changed legally to include it since my birth certificate excluded it but I’ve been extremely hesitant because of the connotation it carries in this country for some odd reason. I get enough hassle at airports thankyouverymuch.

    But +1 for knowing what it means.

  52. Ad Hominid

    My daughter is an instructor at what is alleged to be a top university in Texas. Most of their students come from the suburbs of Dallas and Houston or from rural areas all over the state. She recently told me about a new term she and her colleagues have started using: “Black helicopter parents.” These are parents who blame their little darlings’ bad grades on a conspiracy by leftist academics to persecute “conservative” students.

    The possibility that junior is too drunk, stoned, hung over, or stupid to come to class has never occurred to these good folk. In the worst cases, jail time for assault, DWI, and petty theft can also contribute to poor attendance. The parents have no idea what their monsters are up to, but they do listen to the likes of McLeroy and Rush Limbaugh and the constant spiel about the evil goals of secular humanism and its dominance among intellectuals.

    I offered to loan my daughter my autographed photo of myself with then senator Barry Goldwater in 1967. I thought she could hang it in her office, where it might mitigate any fears that she is a Bolshevik oppressor just one diktat from burning Bibles and confiscating SUVs. She said, “Thanks, daddy, but these people probably wouldn’t know who Barry Goldwater was. If they do, they would only remember that he favored gay rights and was therefore not a conservative by their standards.”

  53. Messier Tidy Upper

    @31. Chris Winter & #51. Tribeca Mike : Thanks. :-)

    @ 25. Al-Khawarizmi : Thanks.

    but I guess the contributions of Islamic civilization to science and mathematics might be too “Pro-Islamic” for the likes of the Texas school bard to consider.

    I don’t usually nitpick typos – FSM knows I make enough of them myself – but that one puts a funny image in my mind of a Texan roving school poet so I’ll just point that out. ;-)

    ***

    Shakespeare used bard langauge but Anne hathaway with him.

  54. Ad Hominid

    Excellent background from the Texas Freedom Network:

    A Short History of the Religious Right

    This excellent article emphasizes an especially crucial point: The religious right take-over in Texas is not a genuine grassroots movement or even a fair indicator of the state of culture and society in Texas. It is instead the outcome of a carefully orchestrated and well-financed effort by professional manipulators and activists. Their real objectives have little or nothing to do with religion and everything to do with acquiring and maintaining power for a privileged class.

  55. Messier Tidy Upper

    @47. Steve Metzler Says:

    Kalmbach are the publishers of Discover Magazine.

    Kalmbach are also the publishers of Astronomy magazine which is one of my faves. Pretty sure the BA has had the odd article in that one too. :-)

  56. JB of Brisbane

    Kalmbach also publish two of my favourite mags, Model Railroader and Garden Railways… or should I not have mentioned that?

  57. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (5) said:

    I am absolutely disgusted, and feel totally betrayed by Obama’s NASA (esp. human spaceflight) policy which I think utterly stinks & I have said so here strongly many times before. I’ve also criticised some of Obama’s other terrible policies here too incl, his evident pro-Muslim anti-Israeli bias.

    Enough, already. Quit threadjkacking with your anti-Obama whingeing. This has nothing to do with the Texas State BoE.

  58. The world is a whole lot bigger than Texas

    #physicsfail. That’s like saying it’s possible to travel faster than light.

  59. Nigel Depledge

    Davidlpf (8) said:

    You forget the United States founding fathers were Christian not Islamic.

    You forget that that’s irrelevant.

    The founding fathers were also English (for the most part), so does that mean the USA should all be Church of England? No, of course it doesn’t.

  60. @MTU #5

    I’m sorry, Obama’s pro-Muslim because he doesn’t feel like they should be wiped from the face of the Earth?

    And anti-Israel? Gimmee a break. With the most right-wing Knesset in recent memory, it’s impossible to be reasonable and agree with them at the same time.

  61. SLC

    Re Davidlpf @ #8

    You forget the United States founding fathers were Christian not Islamic.

    Like Thomas Jefferson who rejected the Trinity, rejected the divinity of Yeshua of Nazareth, rejected the miracle tales in the scriptures. Like John Adams who, in his post presidency correspondence with Jefferson agree with him on the subject of religion. Like George Washington who declined to take Communion after Episcopal church services. Like James Madison who wrote that he saw little positive in religion in general and Christianity in particular.

    Re JasonB @ #3

    Of course, Mr. JasonB is in no way perturbed by the use of cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol by President Obamas’ immediate predecessor. George W. Bushs’ alcohol abuse was so extreme that his wife, Laura, threatened to leave him if he didn’t go on the wagon.

  62. Nigel Depledge
  63. David Mead

    All five of us progressives in North Texas apologize for the School Board. When one is surrounded by uneducated, gun-carrying, right-wing idiots who (think?) President Obama is a Muslim born in Africa then you can see what we are up against. Also, when did Obama confess to snorting coke? I am pretty sure it was that bastion of Texas conservatism, W.

  64. Other Paul

    Meh.

    Why get so excited about it all? What’s the worst that could happen? One of your states becomes technically, economically or politically backward. Their people become consequently disadvantaged, poorer, more bigoted? Other states by comparison will do better, there’ll be a tendency for cleverer and more enlightened folk to leave Texas – thus enriching the other states and plunging Texas into an even deeper spiral of decrepitude. You’ve got 50 states, you can surely afford for one of ‘em to go down the pan.

  65. GeekGoddess

    I never voted in school board elections before, but I will be from now on. Texas has NASA, and hundreds of thousands of people who work in energy businesses as engineers and scientists (myself included), the Medical Center – to which people fly from around the world for treatments in cancer and heart transplants – but most of us don’t pay attention to the local elections. Barbara Cargill, one of the fundie members of the school board, lives not 5 miles from me. She has a master’s in science education and has been a teacher for many years. She runs a science camp. Based out of her church, which is one of those churches large enough to hire off-duty policemen to direct traffic on Sundays.

    She doesn’t answer emails, even politely worded, brief ones. At least, not when the author disagrees with her views on curriculum.

  66. Steve

    Please, don’t lump all Texans into the rednecked idiots category. I would love to see our school system revived, but it won’t happen soon.
    And the folks who bitch about unemployment of young adults wonder why…..

  67. Calli Arcale

    Kudos, GeekGoddess! School board elections are often the place where your vote has the most impact — and where the political parties have less influence (because they regard school boards as small potatoes, so pretty much everybody’s effectively an independent even if they’re card-carrying Republicans or whatever). If you want to get something done, this is where you have the best chance.

    It is also where the hope for the future is born and nurtured, so the payoff can be much bigger than you might think. I mean, the President has a lot of power and all, but he’s gone in 8 years or less. In a school board, you may be influencing the person who will become President in thirty years, or someone else of great influence, and that expands your reach much further than you might realize.

    So take the time to get to know the candidates. In a school district election, you can probably even phone them up and talk to them directly, which is something you don’t get in a big Senate race or gubernatorial race. And then go to the polls and vote your conscience.

    There are no school board posts up for reelection in my district this year. But there is a bond referendum, and I always participate in those elections. It’s too important not to.

  68. OmegaBaby

    Here in Raleigh, NC, we had one of the best urban school systems in the nation (one of the reasons I moved here). Then in the last election, the school board was taken over 5-4 by conservatives (mostly because people were mad about a school policy where kids got to go home early on Wednesdays). It’s been an absolute nightmare since then. They’re resegregating schools (calling them “neighborhood” schools to sound nice), proudly ignoring expert testimony from anyone who disagrees with them, and being openly hostile to any parents who dare question them. Now AdvancED (a major school accreditation organization) is threatening to take away accreditation from our school system because the school board is being openly hostile towards them and not cooperating with request for information. Graduates are going to have difficulty getting into colleges because they’re not going to be coming from an accredited school anymore. It’s a total mess. And the newly elected school board head sits on the board of one of the local private charter schools. So there’s a HUGE conflict of interest because it’s actually in his best interest for public schools to fail and be replaced by private charter schools! What a joke.

    CONSERVATIVES….RUIN….EVERYTHING….!!!

  69. Gary Ansorge

    32. MarcusBailius

    If Texans are still where they were when last I lived there, then they’re mostly carnivores. Lots of barbecues, ya know.

    ,,,ah, barbecues, the only major saving grace of Texas.

    It’s too bad big brains still have to be trained. On the other hand, genetic memory(like the Goa’uld) would end up with only sociopaths getting to reproduce,,,oh, wait, we already HAVE that problem,,,and they’re sitting on the Texas board of education.

    Oh no, the parasites are winning.

    Gary 7

  70. Tribeca Mike

    How apt that the acronym for the Texas Education Agency, which oversees public education in that state, is TEA.

  71. Tribeca Mike

    Messier Tidy Upper — Shakespeare used bard langauge but Anne hathaway with him.

    That’s the “second-best” joke I’ve heard all week.

  72. whb03

    Gary7 – KNEEL before your god!!!

  73. Messier Tidy Upper

    @72. Tribeca Mike : Thanks. :-)

    @58. Nigel Depledge Says:

    Enough, already. Quit threadjkacking with your anti-Obama whingeing. This has nothing to do with the Texas State BoE.

    Way to miss the point, mate. :roll:

    I was responding to somebody else – #3. Jason B. – who was accusing me of being pro-Obama & pointing out that I wasn’t. I also raised the irrelevance of Obama’s past misdeeds myself so gee isn’t it nice to get you slamming me for that? :roll:

    @61. The Chemist Says:

    @MTU #5, I’m sorry, Obama’s pro-Muslim because he doesn’t feel like they should be wiped from the face of the Earth?

    There is *far* more to Obama’s blatant pro-islam bias than just that – as you should be well know. :-(

    The Muslim-fathered, Indonesian-raised President Barack Hussein Obama has bowed’n’scraped and kow-towed far too much to the Arab dictators. BHO has consistently been far too weak on the Muslim world, esp. Iran, and far too harsh on the one oasis of civilisation in a region that is otherwise a wasteland of barbarism & oppression – the Jewish nation of Israel.

    Its a whole other topic or twenty & I could expand on this at great length here but I won’t.

    I’ll just note that NO US President – not even the much maligned George W. Bush – has *ever* advocated “wiping the Muslims off the face of the earth” so your suggestion implying Obama is the only one to hold that view is not merely spectacularly ridiculous but is an offensive slander as well.

    And anti-Israel? Gimmee a break. With the most right-wing Knesset in recent memory, it’s impossible to be reasonable and agree with them at the same time.

    Really? :roll:

    I could say so very much to put the opposite case here. Don’t tempt me. This is probaby – no, definitely – not the right venue for a long and detailed full discussion & outlining of all the facts & the whole case for Israel* here.

    Suffice to say, you are totally in error. Israel is & has been throughout its history far more reasonable with the Arabs, incl,. the Palestinians, than they deserve.

    Israel has repeatedly egaged in peace talks, handed back land painfully and expensively won in its battles for survival and has shown a rather staggering willingness to compromise with individual Muslim dictators and even terrorists groups who are determined to exterminate them and wipe the Jews off the map and into the sea. Israel gave the Palestinians back Gaza and large parts of Judea and Samaria (the “West bank”) and got back in retrun only Hamas rockets and Jihadist hatred day in and day out. The Israelis are tring to defend themselves against the genocide threatened by the Islamic world. They have a right to exist and a right to defend themmselves – period.

    Obama is making life needlessly harder for them when he should be following the traditional and entirely ethical and well-justified policy of US support for the Jewish state against its bloodthirsty, anti-Semitic, murderous enemies.

    Why exactly, The Chemist, may I ask & get a brief answer please, do you seemingly support the side of those wishing to exterminate Israel and engage in another anti-Semitic genocide? What would *you* do in Israel’s shoes, faced with enemies who refuse to make peace and keep attacking you with unparalleled savagery throughout your entire existence?

    * The Case for Israel’ btw. is the title of a book by Alan Derschowitz (John Wley & Sons, 2003.) that I’d recommend anyone interested in this topic reads.

  74. CTteacher

    “The Muslim-fathered, Indonesian-raised President Barack Hussein Obama has bowed’n’scraped and kow-towed far too much to the Arab dictators”

    Mmm, yes, as opposed to his predecessor, from the educationally-advanced state of…Texas. http://www.newsbleat.com/bush_kiss.jpg

  75. Grace

    I am soooo frighten of you people…. i am Mexican and i hate what your Arizona state is doing to our people … regarding the politics or skin color theme or if we are taking of the jobs which btw you dont like to do ….. I was wondering why you act as if inmigrants are not human beings …. buuuuuut now I jsut read about ISLAM IS A FALSE RELIGION …. WTF !!!!! … I just relize you people think and worst of all BELIEVE you are the owners of the only one true !!!!! My God !!! you’re soooo SELFISH …. then answer me why your culture is falling apart since 50’s??? why you’re selling the guns which are killing not only our people in the narco war, or people from countries where you have your soliders in but your own soldiers too !?!?!?! cause for some americans ( I know that fortunatelly not all americans I know some very extraordinary ones) they just want to be richer no matter if is your own people who are killing…… so one day you’ll understand we are a global comunity .. AND FOR EDUCATED USA AMERICANS is no matter of subject ….. all of this is about ignorance.

  76. Nigel Depledge

    Calli Arcale (68) said:

    In a school board, you may be influencing the person who will become President in thirty years, or someone else of great influence, and that expands your reach much further than you might realize.

    Agreed!

    And, even more importantly, you will be influencing the voters of the future.

  77. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (74) said

    Way to miss the point, mate.

    I was responding to somebody else – #3. Jason B. – who was accusing me of being pro-Obama & pointing out that I wasn’t. I also raised the irrelevance of Obama’s past misdeeds myself so gee isn’t it nice to get you slamming me for that

    No, he wasn’t. He was saying that the alleged witchdcraft was of perhaps less significance than some other stuff, such as the alleged cocaine use that Obama allegedly admitted (! :-)). Allegedly.

    So, you didn’t mention drug use at all, and Jason B never mentioned NASA. (Or so it is alleged.)

    Now, in the last sentence of your comment, you did make a real and sensible point (that those various past misdemeanours are irrelevant to the current situation), and I agree with that.

    But the middle paragraph of your comment contributed nothing to that point – it was just your habitual anti-Obama rant (albeit shorter than usual), and that is what I objected to in this thread.

  78. Nigel Depledge

    @ MTU (the rest of comment 74) –
    Please stop jabbering on about how much you hate Obama and how his upbringing and policies are going to bring about the end of civilisation as we know it.

    We get that you vehemently disagree with him in several areas, and most of us don’t care. Maybe you should move to the USA so you can vote for the other guy next time, huh?

  79. Nigel Depledge

    @ Grace (76) –
    Agreed!

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