Talk of Dunbar's potential role draws cheers, jeers

I thought a little bit before posting this article, but I think its worth posting.

These are the really notable parts of the article, but you can read the rest here: chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6514838.html.

AUSTIN — Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.

Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.

In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”

The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.

Dunbar home-schooled her own children.

Dunbar, whose district runs from outside Houston to Austin, said she expresses her views so constituents know exactly where she stands.

“I believe constituents deserve to know our thoughts, which is why I have always been boldly transparent,” she said.

But if she is chosen to chair the board, Dunbar said, she would “play a different role” by focusing on leadership. She is confident she could bring the various board factions together.

“I would strive to be just, merciful and humble in my service,” Dunbar said of a potential promotion to board chair.
National attention

The Texas Senate six weeks ago refused to confirm Perry’s appointment of McLeroy, R-Bryan, whose leadership attracted national attention for the board’s handling of evolution while adopting new science curriculum standards.

Perry’s appointment of Dunbar would send a statement “that the governor shares her shocking hostility toward public education,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that monitors the State Board of Education.

“Just as bad, he would be siding with a faction of self-righteous politicians on the board who have made it crystal clear that they believe the only real Christians are the ones who agree with them,” Miller said. “If the governor really decides that selling out our kids like this is a good re-election strategy, then this state has an even bigger problem than we thought.”

Whoever Perry selects will fill the duration of McLeroy’s term and continue to lead the board until another gubernatorial appointment in 2011.

There’s more to the article, but it goes off into other directions. I find this really upsetting, on several levels.

First, I don’t think its appropriate in any way to select a woman who has homeschooled her kids and has never worked in a school, or even as a superintendent or an assistant superintendent, to run every school in the state of Texas. That’s eminently foolish.

Secondly, it seems equally inane to put a woman who hates public schools in charge of public schools. Just as you would not put a pacifist in charge of the army, you should not put an opponent of the very existence of a public school system, upon which millions of children across the state of Texas rely, in charge of those same public schools which she wishes were destroyed.

Thirdly, Mrs. Dunbar’s position on Christianity in the public sector is somewhat worrying. She has argued that a biblical litmus test should be required for anyone who wants to govern in America. In a state where 33 school districts offer bible study courses (and some of those districts require it as a mandatory course), it seems rather ridiculous to select as the secretary of education someone who feels that the Bible should be a litmus test of citizenship. These courses have already come under attack for shoving forward a denominational and political interpretation of the Bible, and it seems that Mrs. Dunbar would desire that they be more so.

Fourthly and lastly, Mrs. Dunbar’s own website identifies her as a member of the Texas State Board of Education. She states as her main objective the enhancement of the Board’s authority to review and reject textbooks that promote “hidden socialistic, humanistic agendas”. This is a fairly inflammatory statement in and of itself, but it has to be combined with some particularly Texan history. The Texas review process has been full of censorship. For example, the following changes were forced upon a social studies textbook in 1996:

  1. Discussion of the “cruelty of slavery” was cut, because the reviewers felt it was overkill.
  2. A picture of the “American family” was of an African-American, not a Caucasian family. This was changed under pressure.
  3. Discussion of endangered species, homelessness, and other social problems were omitted from the book, again under pressure.
  4. This last change failed, but was attempted nonetheless. The Board tried to force the textbook publishers to replace a discussion of the geological age of the earth with biblical geneaology only.

Of course, Mrs. Dunbar was not on the review board in 1996, but her statement clearly aligns her with those from that bloc that remain in power. The Texas review process has notoriously been that way for years and years and years, and it exercises inordinate power (the size of Texas helps determine what textbooks are used across the Southwest).

What’s wrong with that? The most capitalistic nation in the world elected a president who appears to hate capitalism.

Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.

Can we also take note of the horrible reporting tactics being used? The entire story is based on information given by unconfirmed sources.

So you are happy with that? If not, why is that a justification for Dunbar’s elevation to the chairmanship of the board of education?

Peace

Tim

How do you know that the sources are unconfirmed?

Peace

Tim

Unnamed sources are not necessarily unconfirmed sources.

Maybe 10 or 20 years ago, not so much today.

In your post you admit (by use of the words “not necessarily”) that simply because its in print doesn’t make it so.

So the Houston Chronicle is just making this all up? Why would they do that?

Everyone has an agenda.

In this case, why not name the sources? Who or what would be harmed if the reporter did so? This isn’t a case of someone’s job or livelihood being in danger, so why the veil of secrecy? As a reader I’ve learned the press can hardly be trusted on big stories for accurate reporting, why would they take care in small story?

So you do equate an unamed source with an unconfirmed source? Really?

Peace

Tim

Yes.

The press has gone to great lengths to destroy the level of ethics that they once claimed to have. When they refuse to name their source I take a cynical view of the situation and ask myself the simple question of “Why”? If there is no reason to not do so, then ask again, “Why”? In this case one would wonder what the term “some of her colleagues say” means when citing a source. Who are her “colleagues”? When you pick apart the reference it’s almost sounds like the person is repeating a rumor then carries the story from there.

Too bad.

The press has gone to great lengths to destroy the level of ethics that they once claimed to have. When they refuse to name their source I take a cynical view of the situation and ask myself the simple question of “Why”? If there is no reason to not do so, then ask again, “Why”? In this case one would wonder what the term “some of her colleagues say” means when citing a source. Who are her “colleagues”? When you pick apart the reference it’s almost sounds like the person is repeating a rumor then carries the story from there.

If the source asked not to be named, you would do so anyway? What ethical reason would you have to do so?

Regardless, I wonder why you didn’t read the article. If you did, the names David Bradley and Patricia Hardy would mean something to you. But you would rather try to make this an agenda issue for the newspaper. Forget that Dunbar dislikes public education. Forget that she will be no better than the man she is replacing. Forget all that and make it an agenda thing.:nope:

Peace

Tim

As I stated, why would their source not want to be named? As it was “attributed” it sounded as if the writer were sneaking under the wire.

I read the article. It appeared Gary Scharrer made the case that Dunbar was being considered by the flimsiest of “evidence” (without a statement by Perry or Dunbar) and then ran a long story about the craziness of her possible appointment. It sure captured Lujack’s attention. Remember the Chronicle is in the business of selling and interesting buyers - everything else is secondary.

Two members of the board were named and quoted in the article. I’m not sure what evidence you want, but the article was clear that the basis for the topic were comments from board members. It then followed that with quotes from two members.

It is irrelevant since Dunbar was not selected to lead the board.

Peace

Tim

Yep.

Gov. Rick Perry has named Gail Lowe of Lampasas to chair the State Board of Education, ending a week of speculation among media and members of the board itself that outspoken conservative Cynthia Noland Dunbar of Richmond would be named to the post.

Lowe, a Republican, has served on the board for seven years. Her terms as chairwoman will begin immediately and expire Feb. 1, 2011. She replaces Don McLeroy of College Station, who recently failed to win approval from the Texas Senate.

“I’m a little bit more of a background person than others,” she said. “I’m not upfront. I choose my words carefully and don’t speak an awful lot.”

She said she is honored by the appointment and will do her best. “There are a number of our members I think would have made excellent leaders,” she said, “but I’m probably freeing up others who are more vocal, to continue to do what they do.”

star-telegram.com/state_news/story/1480635.html

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