School & District Management

Texas Board’s Chairman Ousted, and Outspoken

By Sean Cavanagh — June 09, 2009 1 min read

Don McLeroy’s days as chairman of the Texas state board of education appear to be over.

But his tenure as a board member is not, and he vows to be just as active, if not more so, in shaping policy as one of 15 panel members as he was when he wore the chairman’s crown.

The dentist from Bryan was ousted from the post May 28 when, because of Democratic opposition, he failed to get the two-thirds majority from the state Senate needed to reappoint him, as had been requested by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

The ex-chairman, whom Gov. Perry appointed to that seat in 2007, had drawn criticism during the Texas board’s recent approval of science standards that some critics fear will undermine the teaching of evolutionary theory in schools. (“Retooled Texas Standards Raise Unease Among Science Groups,” April 8, 2009.)

Mr. McLeroy is an elected member of the panel whose term ends Jan. 1, 2011, and thus will remain on the board. Board member Lawrence A. Allen Jr. will serve as acting chairman until Mr. Perry appoints someone else, said Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

Democratic legislators said the board under Mr. McLeroy had become fixated on divisive cultural issues. Mr. McLeroy was disappointed, but not surprised.

“I got labeled as controversial. I don’t see it that way,” Mr. McLeroy said in an interview. The evolution uproar “was not started by us on the evolution skeptics’ side—it was on the evolutionists’ side.”

The evolution issue is likely to emerge again in Texas later this year, as the board reviews science textbooks for state adoption. Mr. McLeroy said he would fight to ensure that texts include language asking that student “analyze and evaluate” aspects of biology, language that some scientists said could weaken teaching of evolution.

Mr. McLeroy said he would press for “scientific explanations” of evolution in the texts, and predicted “the explanations will be weak, because I haven’t seen any strong explanations.”

Despite the views of his detractors, Mr. McLeroy said his style had been to remain deferential on many issues as chairman. He said he would be more vocal now.

“Now I get to enter the debate,” he said. “I look forward to that.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 10, 2009 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Is the Assistant Principal the Most Overlooked, Undervalued Person at School?
A new research review on assistant principals finds that the role is undefined and that support for these school leaders is inconsistent.
7 min read
 teachers and leaders looking around for direction
Mykyta Dolmatov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Opinion Pandemic Recovery Will Be Complex. We’ll Need the Best School Leaders
To face the education challenges of today and tomorrow, we must invest in the principal pipeline, writes Michael J. Petrilli.
Michael J. Petrilli
4 min read
Leader pointing hand forward, directing boat forward through corona virus crisis
iStock / Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Opinion The Year of Scourges: How I Survived Illness and Racism to Find My 'Tribe'
A Black school leader reflects on the hardest year of her professional life.
Reba Y. Hodge
4 min read
new growth on a bare tree
Vanessa Solis/Education Week & Getty Images
School & District Management From Our Research Center How the Pandemic Is Shaping K-12 Education (in Charts)
Surveys by the EdWeek Research Center show how schools have changed during the pandemic and what adjustments are likely to stick.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School on Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School in Rye, N.Y., last fall.
Mary Altaffer/AP