Today is Election Day (duh), and if it’s even possible, I feel more invested in this election than I did the last one. Why? Well, my mother is running for State Board of Education in Texas. Over the past year plus, I have watched her work her tail off, step outside of her comfort zone, and try new things. She has given up more mornings, nights, and weekends than I even want to think about so that she could go to things like Early Bird Breakfasts, Bar-b-Ques, and Saturday Socials to talk to voters, parents, and educators.
Why did she decide, after 30 years as a professor, to run for SBOE? Well, she works at a large public university, so she sees what public education and disastrous policies have done to these kids firsthand. “It’s like they just want the information told to them so they can regurgitate it on the test. They don’t know how to think for themselves.” Yup, that’s what No Child Left Behind does to these bright young malleable minds.
Texas is at or near the bottom in most subject areas, for most grades, across the state. One area that they’re high up there on the list for? Teen pregnancy rates, according to this report. Maybe that’s because Texas teaches abstinence-only education. Instead of facing this fact head on (and many others, come to think of it), the State Board of Education members keep injecting personal moral convictions into policy.
The State Board of Education is currently filled with members whose incompetence has been made fun of by people across the state and the nation, from Jon Stewart to the New York Times. My mother’s opponent “has argued that the absence of transitional animals like a “dog-cat” and a “cat-rat” is proof that evolution is a fraud.” Whether or not you believe in evolution, I am of the firm conviction that someone with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin should have a better grasp on evolutionary theory. By making an ignorant statement like this, he is sullying the reputation of my alma mater, and that is not something I take lightly.
She decided something had to be done, and she did it. I sure hope she wins, but in my eyes she’s already a winner. Mom, I’m really proud of you.