...Just like the fire departments, school boards seem to attract a significant unhinged minority of firebugs -- people who just want to destroy public education and laugh while it burns.
AUSTIN — Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.
Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.Critics are gasping and allies are cheering over speculation that Dunbar, a lawyer, could win a promotion to the leadership spot.“It would certainly cause angst among the same members of the pagan left that rejected Don McLeroy because he was a man of faith,” said David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the seven socially conservative members on the 15-person board.
Perry’s office declined to comment until “a final decision is made.”[...] In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.Perry’s appointment of Dunbar would send a statement “that
the governor shares her shocking hostility toward public education,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that monitors the State Board of Education.“Just as bad, he would be siding with a faction of self-righteous politicians on the board who have made it crystal clear that they believe the only real Christians are the ones who agree with them,” Miller said. “If the governor really decides that selling out our kids like this is a good re-election strategy, then this state has an even bigger problem than we thought.”
If the chatter from some board members proves correct, and Gov. Rick Perry is indeed considering appointing member Cynthia Dunbar as the board’s new leader, we may find ourselves reminiscing fondly about the good ol’ days when Chairman McLeroy simply disregarded experts, sidelined teachers and insisted on inserting his religious beliefs into public policy-making.Dunbar’s shortcomings go far beyond ideology and poor leadership skills to beliefs promoting paranoia and bigotry.This is the same Richmond Republican who penned an online essay shortly before the presidential election warning Barack Obama was plotting with terrorists to attack the country. She refused to retract her claim, even under pressure from Republicans.
UPDATE: Gov. Rick Perry Friday named Gail Lowe of Lampasas to chair the Texas State Board of Education. Ms. Lowe, a graduate of Louisiana State University, is a co-publisher of the Lampasas Dispatch Record but is not a teacher. Deeply distrustful of public education, she home-schooled her children. Ms. Lowe’s elevation helps Gov. Perry move Texas toward a true Christian government. She refers to herself a creationist and said the study of evolution, while important to the teaching of biology, also believes “Kids ought to be able to hold religious beliefs and still study science without any conflict.” Gail Lowe also embraces a conspiracy theory heard in the rightwing echo chamber that says President Obama is ineligible to be president because he was born in Indonesia (he was born in Honolulu, HI), and like many other far-right loons, Lowe refuses to believe his Hawaii-issued birth certificate is a valid document.