The voters in the GOP primary run-off elections did themselves and Red a great disservice by rejecting Mary Lou Bruner for a position on the State Board of Education. Readers may recall that Bruner, a Tea Party stalwart and former school teacher, had claimed that President Obama had been a gay prostitute in his youth to pay for his drug habit. That’s just an extraordinary dose of crazy that very few politicians can deliver. But Bruner kept the hits coming when she also claimed that the Noah’s Ark flood had extinguished the dinosaurs and that the Democrats had killed President Kennedy. Such crazy talk did not keep Bruner down as she nearly won in the GOP primary in March and would surely have been elected to the SBOE in the fall despite her lunatic fringe beliefs. But alas, Bruner went down in flames Tuesday night losing the run off by 18 points to local school board president Keven Ellis. So unfortunately, Red will not be able to parade her around as the poster child for the band of right-wing zanies that goes by the name of the Texas GOP.
Mary Lou Bruner the GOP candidate for the Texas State Board of Education has been outspoken in her criticism of President Obama. All well and good, until it crosses the line to utter insanity. Late last year, Bruner posted the claim on her Facebook page that Obama worked as a gay prostitute in his 20’s to earn cash for his drug habit.
After the ridicule and scorn heaped on her ignorant shoulders from the national press, you might think Bruner would back down or at least make some attempt to back up her claims with some of those things called “facts.” She is supposedly interested in education after all. But no. In an interview with KERA in Denton, Bruner went all in.
“If he’s on drugs, then how did he pay for them?” she told KERA. “There’s two ways that people on welfare pay for drugs — they prostitute themselves or they steal.”
So our President was either a prostitute or a thief. This is the kind of lunacy the Tea Party has wrought. And this is the person that will be sitting on the State Board of Education setting policies and approving textbooks to guide our young students. It’s almost, but not quite, as frightening as growing prospect of a Cruz presidency.
In the face of numerous absurd statements in a recently published history book, the State Board of Education – which authorized the ridiculed textbook – has rejected a proposal to have people who might actually know something about history review textbooks for accuracy. The 8-7 vote against the proposal at least indicates that not every member of the Board is a Tea Party hack. But it is clear, that the Board functions as a wing of the Tea Party and is attempting to indoctrinate Texas students with conservative ideology at the expense of actual facts. The Trailblazer Blog of the Dallas Morning News has more.
State Board of Education members on Wednesday narrowly rejected a plan to create a group of state university professors to scour Texas schoolchildren’s textbooks for factual errors.
The vote against was 8-7, with all the board’s Republicans except two opposing the measure.
The push for more experts to be involved came after more than a year of controversy over board-sanctioned books’ coverage of global warming, descriptions of Islamic history and terrorism and handling of the Civil War and the importance of Moses and the Ten Commandments to the founding fathers.
A tipping point to add more fact checking may have come last month. A suburban Houston mom’s alert that a newly approved geography text described African slaves forcibly brought to North America as “workers” set off a national furor.
At issue is whether the board should continue to rely on publishers and the public to flag errors. Currently, citizen panels nominated by the board have a narrower mission – to determine whether a book fits into Texas’ curriculum standards. Mostly, current and retired teachers sit on the panels.
Board vice chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, offered the backstop panel of university professors as an amendment to a proposed overhaul of textbook approval procedures. Under his proposal, the board could set up a new panel drawn “solely from Texas institutions of higher education” to check the books for errors.
“I know that people are concerned about pointy headed liberals in the ivory tower making our process … worse,” he said. “Why wouldn’t we reach out to them and say let’s make sure these books are as factually accurate as possible?”
Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Donna Bahorich – a former communications director for Tea Party stalwart Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – to chair the State Board of Education. Bahorich home schooled her children before sending them to private high school. She appears to have little or no experience with the public school system. Even some Republicans are questioning the choice. Republican State Board member Thomas Ratliff has called the move a mistake.
“Public school isn’t for everybody, but when 94 percent of our students in Texas attend public schools I think it ought to be a baseline requirement that the chair of the State Board of Education have at least some experience in that realm, as a parent, teacher, something,”
Some are wondering why Abbott is kowtowing to the homeschooling lobby. Abbott vetoed Senate Bill 359, which would have allowed physicians to detain patients if they are deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, after it was opposed by the Texas Home School Coalition as an attack on parental rights.
Now Red believes that you should have the right to send your children to public or private school or homeschool them if you don’t think it will drive you nuts, but it seems that the Chair of the State Board of EDUCATION should have at least a passing familiarity with the system that educates the overwhelming majority of our youth. Just saying.