Governor Rick Perry has chosen another creationist, Republican Gail Lowe, to chair the State Board of Education. (Perry had first reappointed current chair Don McLeroy, a well-known young earth creationist, but the state Senate voted him out.) Lowe will serve as chairman until February 2011, just after the Texas Legislature reconvenes.
As with McLeroy, many are concerned about Lowe's divisiveness and her past attempts to undermine the treatment of evolution in the state's science standards. She repeatedly voted for changes to the curriculum that would water down evolution instruction, including having kids discuss the "strengths and weaknesses" of the theory. (Keep in mind that evolution is not a point of controversy or debate in the scientific community.)
As Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, notes:
It's disappointing that instead of choosing a mainstream conservative who could heal the divisions on the board, the governor once again appointed someone who repeatedly has put political agenda ahead of the education of Texas schoolchildren. Ms. Lowe has marched in lockstop with a faction of board members who believe that their personal beliefs are more imporatant than the experience and expertise of teachers and academics who have dedicated their careers to educating our children and helping them succeed. We can only hope that she will rise above her history on the board and as chair keep fellow members from continuing to hold the education of our children hostage to divisive "culture war" battles.—Heather Wax