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Thursday, May 28 2020 @ 03:20 PM CDT

Texas Science Curriculum Director Forced to Resign After Questioning Legitimacy of 'Right Wing Yankee Carpetbagger Science'

Texas Topics

Amanda Marcotte: Texas is a state to be watched, because so many right wing ideas and strategies hatch there only to be exported elsewhere.
I've been meaning to post about this for a few days, due to my dedication to Molly Ivins' belief that Texas is a state to be watched, because so many right wing ideas and strategies hatch here only to be exported elsewhere. It appears that the director of the statewide science curriculum Chris Corner was fired for having the nerve to forward an email that indicated that she might just believe that the science classroom is for science and not for religious indoctrination. (Needless to say, I am pretty sure the "uppity bitch" element played a part in this--Texas both has a long tradition of smart-assed liberal women and the men who will do anything to make sure we get the smackdown.) From the Statesman:

Chris Comer was director of the science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency for nearly a decade when she was forced to resign recently. Her offense, as unbelievable as it is to relate, was forwarding an e-mail message about a presentation by an author critical of the intelligent design approach to science education.

The education agency, of course, portrays the problem as one of insubordination and misconduct. But from all appearances, Comer was pushed out because the agency is enforcing a political doctrine of strict conservatism that allows no criticism of creationism......

Robert Scott, the new education commissioner, is not an educator but a lawyer and former adviser to Gov. Rick Perry. This presents an excellent opportunity for the governor and his appointee to step in firmly to put an end to ideological witch hunts in the agency.

The person who called for Comer to be fired is Lizzette Reynolds, a former deputy legislative director for Gov. George Bush. She joined the state education agency this year as an adviser after a stint in the U.S. Department of Education.

In her memo criticizing Comer, Reynolds said that Comer's passing along the e-mail "assumes this is a subject that the agency supports." That's absurd, of course, but it is in keeping with enforcing a doctrine that says creationism must not be criticized.

Texas really might be the ground zero for the spreading and insidious philosophy that the public schools should not be in the business of education, but in the business of proselytizing about the justness of the cultural dominance of white, well-off fundamentalist Christians and their worldview. What first started inspiring political pressure on revising textbooks and stacking school boards in Texas was not creationism or sex education, but the way history was taught--the reality that white Christian supremacy was a less than utopian system for many who lived under it (or were killed under it) was creeping into the textbooks and classrooms and our asshole army wasn't going to take it. The wingnuts who really started this entire nightmare of battles over religion vs. science in the science classroom or truth vs. propaganda in the history classroom were Mel and Norma Gabler for the wooded areas of east Texas, where the KKK is known to be looked upon with some sympathy, especially when they got their start in the 60s. Their organization has been at the forefront of demands that textbooks reflect their hateful views of history, ignorant views of science, and rancidly sexist views on health education. (Here's a sample sheet of their standards on history textbooks, mainly a bunch of stuff about making sure kids worship at the altar of "states' rights", are taught that religious fundamentalists can do no wrong, and every time white people are criticized for some cruelty, that it's "balanced" by saying, in essence, that the people they oppressed were just as bad, if not worse.)

It's not really a new tactic to fire someone for resisting conservative orthodoxy on behalf of reality, especially from disciples of the church of the Shrub, but it's still important to watch. As Roxanne is always noting, the wingnuts are vile when they're winning, but absolutely unbearable when they're losing. Comer had her job for almost a decade, as the article notes. It's not a stretch to wonder if she was fired so that some Bushies could get some stress relief the only way wingnuts know how--base sadism.

{Take Texas Back from these WingNuts!}

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