School & District Management

Texas Board’s Chairman Ousted, and Outspoken

By Sean Cavanagh — June 09, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Seamless Integrations for Engagement in the Classroom
Learn how to seamlessly integrate new technologies into your classroom to support student engagement. 
Content provided by GoGuardian
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
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
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
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning

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 Opinion 3 Shifts That Will Benefit Every New Ed. Leader
We need leaders who can develop shared visions of what school can be.
Jennifer Perry Cheatham, Rodney Thomas & Adam Parrott-Sheffer
4 min read
conceptual image of people coming together to form a lightbulb
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management After Student's Death, L.A. Schools to Carry Overdose Antidote
The nation’s second-largest school district will provide all its schools with a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses.
1 min read
Students and community members place flowers and candles at Helen Bernstein High School where a teenage girl died of an overdose on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Los Angeles. Authorities said multiple Los Angeles teenagers have overdosed on pills likely laced with fentanyl over the past month, including the 15-year-old girl who died on the high school campus.
Students and community members place flowers and candles at Helen Bernstein High School where a girl died of an overdose earlier this month in Los Angeles. Authorities said multiple Los Angeles teenagers have overdosed on pills likely laced with fentanyl over the past month, including the 15-year-old girl who died on the high school campus.
Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via AP
School & District Management Opinion Advice for New Principals: The 4 Things to Focus on First
There’s a lot new school leaders are expected to learn. Here’s where to start.
Lebon "Trey" D. James III & David E. DeMatthews
4 min read
Illustration of checklist on a map
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Canva
School & District Management Opinion The Word 'Supervision' Shouldn't Get a Bad Rap. Here's Why
"Supervision" implies power, which, if used wisely, can strengthen the principal-teacher relationship.
Kim Morrison Kazmierczak & Ann Mausbach
4 min read
shutterstock 147190649
Shutterstock