For months, liberals have watched the Texas State Board of Education debate standards for new textbooks, with Gov. Rick Perry-appointed member Don McLeroy leading the charge for standards more in line with conservative ideology. Some examples from a mid-February profile of the board:
McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands.
Last night, McLeroy narrowly lost the Republican primary for another term on the board to challenger Thomas Ratcliff, while his ally Geraldine Miller lost her seat to another first-time candidate. No Democrats are running for these seats, which means the moderate Republicans who ousted McLeroy and Miller will take their places on the board.