Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hasn't Texas had enough?

Let's forget for a moment the unethical firing of Susan Comer. Let's forget for the moment the whole Evolution vs Creationism debate Don McElroy dragged you through. Let's discuss the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). Last year you denied them permission to award Masters of Science degrees. I salute you for that. But now is not the time to let down your guard. Because the ICR has not been sitting around.

They took their case to the court of public appeal, but that wasn't good enough. They co-opted a conservative legislative member and helped him sponsor a bill that would exempt organizations like the ICR from the rules. But even that wasn't good enough. Now they are suing, yes SUING, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board(THECB). Isn't that so special! The THECB is the agency that unanimously voted to deny the ICR's request for a state certificate of authority to offer the MS in Science degree. The THECB is the organization that their pet State Senator is trying to make them exempt from.

So Texas, you face yet another challenge. Do you roll over and let organizations like the ICR offers degrees in Science, something they apparently only have a passing acquaintance with? Or do you let them certify at least some of the next generation of Texas science teachers? In other words do you want your kids to not learn science or scientific methodology? Because if House Bill 2800 passes or the ICR wins this lawsuit, that is what you have to look forward to.


  1. Dear Ted:
    FWIW, TX is slowly waking up and having enough--have you seen the number of bills (some from R's) filed to strip State Board of Ed of power? (15 at last count). My own blog has my observations watching the grilling McElroy received late last night in a TX Senate confirmation hearing. Contact me privately at marcusaltus@gmail.com if you'd like the link (don't want to post URLs to your blog without your permission)

  2. I saw an announcement about that, but I have concerns as well. Does Texas really want to give that job to the Legislature? I think the smart thing would be to replace the Board with members that are willing to do the job of a BoE without pushing their personal religious agendas on th rest of the State. Maybe re-define the qualifications and expectations of the BoE.

    Go ahead and post the link. I be more folks than just me would be interested.


  3. Thanks, Ted. My detailed account of McElroy's contentious confirmation hearing is at blog.sixredmarbles.com
    (I was there, even to the end at 7:30 pm.)

    As for your comment--the bill with the most traction (SB2275) would take the authority away from the Board and leave it with the teacher panels, not the Legislature.

    FWIW, a number of "The Faction" on the Board are likely to face serious election challenges in the 2010 cycle. (In 2006's cycle, the D's rolled over and played dead, often not even fielding candidates...)

  4. Thanks for the link and the info SN. Nice to have an ear on the ground locally. Hopefully McElroy gets replaced, but I think the odds are pretty long for that. I do believe the next elections will go similarly to the Ohio, Kansas, and Dover PA ones, where the more ardent Creationists were replaced mainly for embarrassing the hell out of their constituents. I do sometimes wonder what Ohio's Deborah Owens Fink is up to without her position on the State School Board, but I don't lose any sleep over it :-)

  5. It's not just their constituents that are embarrassed: the statewide Republicans are not thrilled that the face of Texas Republican party to the rest of USA is not Governor or Senators but Chairman Don the Dentist with his fascinating pronouncements...
    Expect a number to face well-funded challenges *in their primaries* as well.
    Taking a long-term view, the climate is similar to what happened back in 1995 after the Texas health hearings, when the Lege took away a huge chunk of Board authority.

  6. Also, worth checking out is this analysis of the complaint filed:


    Apparently the ICR is about as bad at law as they are at science.

  7. Joshua,
    Thanks for the link! It's a terrific one!