Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SBOE: Tincy Miller and Bill Ames

Recently, I quoted some statements by Gail Spurlock, candidate for the GOP nomination for Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) District 12, which includes Richardson. I wasn't too impressed with her opinion that the Pilgrims were communists and sex education isn't needed because kids can figure out on their own how to have sex. I said that I'd take the other candidates, either George Clayton or Tincy Miller, in a heartbeat over Spurlock.

After the jump, what I've learned since that further narrows the field.

What I've learned comes from some website called "Texas Patriot Statesman." (The name reminds me of suburban developments in which they cut down all the trees, then put up houses on streets that they name things like Wood Glen and Forest Meadow.)

What I've learned poses a bit of a quandary for me. The "Texas Patriot Statesman" doesn't much like Tincy Miller. That's a point in her favor, as the "Texas Patriot Statesman" endorses Gail Spurlock and is apparently in favor of teaching Texas schoolchildren things like doubting Darwin, denying there is a Constitutional separation of church and state, and believing that 1950s McCarthyism had it right after all.

But, at the same time, the "Texas Patriot Statesman" also says that Bill Ames is saying nice things about Tincy Miller. Whoa!

Now, to understand Bill Ames, you first have to understand former SBOE chairman Don McLeroy. McLeroy is a Creationist who believes dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark. He championed divisive conservative hot button issues like this during his chairmanship of the SBOE. Watch Stephen Colbert's interview with McLeroy this week for a taste of how this man made a national laughingstock of Texas.

OK, back to Bill Ames. McLeroy appointed Ames to the nine-member curriculum committee that made recommendations to the SBOE regarding what Texas schoolchildren should be taught in social studies. Read this article from 2010 about Ames's participation to understand him and his influence on the SBOE. Here's a sample paragraph. There's much more, but this will do for a start:

Ames, for instance, may have been speaking for the elected board's majority when he tried to push through a standard on "American exceptionalism." Depending on how it's interpreted, exceptionalism can mean simply that the country, particularly its founders, did exceptional things. Or it can mean -- in a definition endorsed by Ames in his treatise -- that America is "not only unique but superior," that its citizens are "chosen people, divinely ordained to lead the world to betterment," and that it is "not destined to rise and fall. Americans will escape 'the laws of history' which eventually cause the downfall of all great nations and empires."
Source: Texas Tribune.
You'd think a serious candidate would stay as far away from Bill Ames as possible. But Tincy Miller's website highlights Ames as endorsing her. This is a deal-killer for me that not even the disdain for Miller by the "Texas Patriot Statesman" can overcome.

That leaves George Clayton, the incumbent. I guess that I'll be endorsing him in the GOP primary. He didn't do or say anything stupid in his first term on the SBOE. For the SBOE, that's high praise.