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Friday, May 29, 2009

Bye Bye, Don McLeroy

Encouraging news out of Texas this morning: The state Senate has voted Don McLeroy out as chair of the State Board of Education. Gov. Rick Perry had reappointed McLeroy for another two-year term, and while the vote to confirm him was 19–11 (all Republicans v. Democrats), a two-thirds majority is needed.
McLeroy, a dentist who has been chairman of the board for almost two years, is well-known as a young earth creationist, and it seems a number of board members were deeply concerned with his divisiveness and continuous attempts to undermine the treatment of evolution in the state's science standards. During the most recent debate in March—while pushing an amendment that would require students to "describe the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record"—he famously (and shockingly!) told board members, "Somebody's got to stand up to experts!" and "Science doesn't operate on consensus."

McLeroy will remain a board member, and the governor will now have to pick a new nominee. —Heather Wax