Even as Gail Lowe tries desperately to save her nomination to another term as chair of the Texas State Board of Education, she’s demonstrating precisely why so many state senators are hesitant to confirm her. Her nominees to panels that will review science instructional materials this year show that she’s more interested in promoting her personal beliefs than in basing what public school students learn on facts and sound scholarship.
The Texas Education Agency is currently putting together those panels, which will review science materials that publishers and other vendors are submitting for the state board’s approval this summer. Those materials are supposed to be based on curriculum standards the state board adopted two years ago — the same standards creationists hope to exploit to promote junk science attacking evolution in public schools over the next decade. Lowe has nominated more potential panelists than any other board member. And a number of Lowe’s nominees have publicly supported teaching “intelligent design”/creationist arguments in science classrooms.
- Pierre G. Velasquez, a teacher at Cornerstone Christian School in San Antonio, who testified before the state board during the 2009 science curriculum debate, urging that science students be taught creationist-fabricated “weaknesses” of evolution
- Richard White, occupation unknown, who also testified in 2009 in support of teaching students creationist-fabricated “weaknesses” of evolution
- Cherry A. Moore, a “consultant” who testified in 2009 in support of teaching creationist-fabricated “weaknesses” of evolution
- Daniel Romo, a Texas A&M University chemistry professor who is listed as a “Darwin Doubter” on a creationist website.
- Walter L. Bradley, a professor of engineering at Baylor University, believes that there is scientific evidence for the existence of God and a “designed universe.” A 1993 article Bradley co-wrote for The American Biology Teacher journal, “Origins of Life & Evolution in Biology Textbooks — A Critique,” suggests that students in science classrooms should learn about supernatural explanations.
If Lowe wants to persuade senators that she won’t turn the adoption of science instructional materials into another “culture war” battle in her anti-science crusade, she’ll clearly have to try a lot harder.