You all remember Don McLeroy, right? As the conservative/creationist Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, he’s one of the people that played a major role in the hits that science education took in the state’s recent review of curriculum standards. (Here’s a video of McLeroy in action during the review hearings.)
Skepchick covered the story extensively, because of the nationwide implications of those hearings’ outcomes. The creationist board members were able to worm suspect language into the state’s education guidelines, leaving the door open for religion to find its way into science classrooms.
It remains to be seen the exact damage the results of those hearings will have on Texas (and other US) students, but there is some encouraging news coming out of Austin. Read more after the fold.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting today that:
The Senate rejected Republican Don McLeroy’s nomination as chairman of the State Board of Education on Thursday after Democrats decried his lack of leadership and “endless culture wars” over evolution and other volatile topics.
After the standards were adopted in March of this year, many quality educators and science advisers around the state were left to hope that the state legislature would be the equalizing factor, and it appears that this show by Democrats is a step in the right direction.
Several Democrats cited the recurring divisiveness on the board with McLeroy at the helm, along with his resistance to the views of educators and education experts on curriculum and other matters.
And that was the rub during the adoption hearings. McLeroy and his cohorts steadfastly refused to listen to educators and scientists when drafting the language that describes the science standards, adding a sense of arrogance to the general ignoranceÂ the creationistsÂ have about the world around them.
Senate Democratic leader Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio said that under McLeroy’s leadership, the State Board of Education has become a “laughingstock of the nation” with its battles over evolution, sex education and other issues.
Of course this isn’t the end of the battle. McLeroy maintains his seat on the board. He is an elected official after all. But Governor Rick Perry will now have to nominate another candidate to be the board’s chairman, and the senate will have a confirmation hearing for the new candidate in 2011.
There is still a long row to hoe in this ongoing saga, but this is encouraging news.
Rock on, Texas Democrats!