Commentary: Oh Texas, we chose this school board

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramMay 24, 2010 

So who chose the Texas state school board?

We did.

For example, Chairwoman Gail Lowe is from Lampasas, but she was elected mostly by voters in Denton County.

She consistently votes with an extremely religious faction -- the same faction that years ago defied then-Gov. George W. Bush.

Our state board was on display for the nation's entertainment again last week, rewriting social studies lessons that will affect the nation's textbooks.

Once again, board members made the Texas Legislature look smart.

TV cameras locked in on the board's stars:

Beaumont Republican David Bradley, a five-term incumbent, tried to have American history lessons call the current president "Barack Hussein Obama," even though most presidents are listed with a middle initial.

He withdrew his motion. (Nobody tried to change the name of the board's newest hero, the Confederate States president, to "Jefferson Finis Davis.")

Bryan Republican Don McLeroy, the lame-duck former board chairman, wanted history books to contrast the critical "tone" of reform leaders such as Susan B. Anthony with the sunnier "optimism" of immigrants such as Jean Pierre Godet.

The only problem with that was that Godet is a character in a historical novel. McLeroy, who thinks the world is only 6,000 years old, apparently also thinks artist Thomas Kinkade writes history books.

Richmond Republican Cynthia Dunbar, also a lame duck, argued for teaching Davis' Confederate inaugural speech on an equal level with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, even though Davis never mentioned slavery.

"I thought we don't want to whitewash history," she said.

Gosh. I guess not.

(Davis and the Confederacy came out as the week's big winners. The board also voted to teach children that the Civil War was fought over sectionalism and states' rights, followed by slavery.)

To read the complete column, visit www.star-telegram.com.

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