Prominent Conservative Unseated in Texas Ed Board

A Christian conservative lost his seat on the Texas State Board of Education in a closely-watched race.

Don McLeroy, who is considered an outspoken Christian, was defeated by Mount Pleasant Republican Thomas Ratliff, a moderate.

The March 2 Republican primary for several seats on the State Board of Education, which is the most influential in the country, came ahead of an upcoming board vote on a new social studies curriculum.

Amendments to the standards that determine what children will study in social studies class were debated early this year. At that time, McLeroy, who has served on the board since 1998, indicated support for adding emphasis on the role Christianity played in the founding of the United States.

Also, in a debate last year on evolution, McLeroy defended a requirement that science teachers address both "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories. The board rejected the requirement but adopted new language requiring science teachers to encourage students to "critique" and examine "all sides" of scientific theories.

McLeroy believes many aspects of Charles Darwin's theory are not supported by fossil records.

The evolution debate among board members was thrust into the national media spotlight and soon after McLeroy was not reappointed as chairman because of concerns over his religious views.

Responding to criticisms that he was "too far right," McLeroy said, "We're not too far any which way. It's in the middle. We're in good, clear thinking to help with our schools," as reported by The Associated Press.

He also said he views the last three years not as distractions but as "incredible accomplishments that will help our children," according to The Dallas Morning News.

McLeroy is a dentist in Bryan-College Station and serves as a fourth-grade Sunday school teacher at Grace Bible Church.

The 15-member State Board of Education provides direction to the second largest school system in the nation and determines what millions of students read in textbooks nationwide.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In U.S.