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A victory for reality in Texas

by Phil Plait, Mar 10 2010

I am pleased to write that the creationist and generally anti-reality Don McLeroy has lost his bid for re-election to the Texas State Board of Education!


The man who ousted him is Thomas Ratliff, who is — gasp! — an actual educator who has vowed to try to remove the politicization of the board and also to actually – gasp again! — listen to educators when it comes to, y’know, educational topics. You may remember McLeroy is the goofball who infamously said, "Someone has to stand up to the experts!"

However, mitigating the good news somewhat are some things to consider:

1) McLeroy is still on the BoE for the next seven months before his term runs out. He can do a vast amount of damage to Texas schoolchildren’s education in that time.

2) Ratliff only won by a very narrow margin, meaning a whole lot of Texas citizens either didn’t know about McLeroy’s maniacal attempts at derailing the Lone Star State’s educational system, didn’t care, or actually supported him.

3) McLeroy and his crew of revisionist creationists have already done so much damage that it cannot be easily repaired. There is a cycle to the way standards and such are reviewed and updated in Texas, so it could be years before things are straightened out, if at all.

Still, this is good news, and so I won’t use the "Texas: Doomed" graphic. Instead, I’ll remind you not to rest:

Tip o’ the ten gallon hat to Robert Estes and the many others who emailed me about this. Originally posted on The Bad Astronomy Blog.

10 Responses to “A victory for reality in Texas”

  1. Dave says:

    YES! As both a citizen and a student of the Lone Star state, I am overjoyed in light of this news. It shocks me the level of ignorance and arrogance of politicians that reside in Austin. As Senator Mark Lunsford Pryor said ” You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate.” As you stated, surely this is by no means winning the ‘war’, but its a triumphant battle.

  2. ejdalise says:

    Good news, but . . . It looks like the dog is the vigilant one (I don’t even see a squirrel), so the caption makes little sense to me. Are we vigilant against the encroachment of democracies?

    Is the dog a benevolent dictator? Is it vigilant against everything, both bad and good?

    . . . maybe I’m over-thinking this . . .

  3. Nayr says:

    Vigilance Dog: “Never shall a squirrel or democracy pass. Not on my watch”!

  4. Majority of One says:

    Great news. I just hope he was ousted because people found out what he was getting up to, not just random luck.

    EJ, …the dog is always vigilalant, therefore, so must be the squirrel

  5. Seth says:


    Great news from the Wide Open Spaces. This could be a serious hitch in the formation of the United State of Norris.

  6. i am soooo glad the sciences I teach in Odyssey are not biological… another victory for Texas, but with Rick Perry as Gov, he’ll just choose another religionist to run for the position and somehow keep it quiet that they are fundies.


  7. gwen says:

    But it now looks like they have so bastardized their curriculum as to put the countries educational system at risk. They are removing Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum, and inserting Calvin. They are trying to change our history to suit their world view, and it matters not what is the reality. With California nearly bankrupt, they have become the tail that wags the educational publishing dog. That is terrifying to contemplate.

  8. SeanG says:

    Well, it looks like item #1 in Phil’s list need editing. It should say “did” instead of “can do”. Would Texas please just secede already.

  9. Robo Sapien says:

    Man, if only Texans were as passionate about high school football as they are about creationism… oh wait, nevermind..

  10. PaulRugg says:

    Sometimes I fear the squirrels are doing a better job than us…