THE PLANK JANUARY 22, 2009
Even as we say "adios" to President Bush and his pack of anti-science
yahoos, the fine folks on the Texas State Board of Education remind us
that the beat goes on:
How tiresome. Part of me thinks: Why not let Texas revel in its own ass-backwardness? On the other hand, the NYT notes that, because the state is such a big buyer of textbooks, its
curriculum decisions can have a concrete impact on publishers, who don't like
to print up different versions of the same material. Thus, some
young-earth fanatic on the Texas school board--such as board president
Don McLeroy, a dentist by trade--could influence what appears in my
children's biology textbooks.
Still, I have a hard time getting too worked up--even though the Times reports that social conservatives have been steadily amassing board seats in recent years (they now hold 7 of 15) and enjoy the enthusiastic support of Gov. Rick Perry. At the very worst, my guess is that we'll have to wait until the debate heats up enough to turn the entire state into a national laughingstock--as happened with Kansas's quaint experiment in Intelligent Design--and the wingers get bounced from office. Already, local business execs are warning of the fallout of monkeying around with the state curriculum. As Eric Hennenhoefer, owner of Obsidian software, told the board: "The political games we are playing right now are going to burn us all."