A new chair for the Texas state board of education
On July 10, 2009, Governor Rick Perry (R) named Gail Lowe to chair the Texas state board of education. Lowe replaces Don McLeroy, who failed to win confirmation from the Texas Senate on May 28, 2009. As the Dallas Morning News (July 11, 2009) noted, “Lowe is one of seven Republicans who make up the board's social conservative bloc, which frequently has clashed with Democrats and moderate Republicans. The most recent disagreement came over the treatment of evolution in science standards — with social conservatives arguing for more critical coverage of the topic." In a July 10, 2009, post on its blog, the Texas Freedom Network observed, "It's disappointing that instead of choosing a mainstream conservative who could heal the divisions on the board, the governor once again appointed someone who repeatedly has put political agendas ahead of the education of Texas schoolchildren," adding, "In 2003 and 2009 Ms. Lowe supported dumbing down the state’s public school science curriculum by voting to include unscientific, creationist criticisms of evolution in science textbooks and curriculum standards." And in a July 10, 2009, posting on the Houston Chronicle's Evosphere blog, Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science commented, "Lowe will do what the radical religious right powers want her to do. She will not stop the continuing politicization of public education in Texas by the Fundamentalist Christians who still have positions of power and influence. It will be business as usual, as as usual, public education and the students and teachers of the state will suffer."