By: David Bloomberg Re: Pandas in Plano, I Last May three candidates running for positions
By: David Bloomberg
Re: Pandas in Plano, I
Last May three candidates running for positions on the
Plano, Texas, school board, were pushing the "values" issue,
something which has become a buzzword for religious
fundamentalism. Their opponents accused them of being
"stealth" candidates, which they denied. From their
responses and public statements, one would get the idea
they had never even met prior to running for office, let
alone gathered with other creationists to conspire to
take over the Plano schools.
The three were elected in May, and last year they were
successful in getting condom demos discontinued in the
school and in having their "values" program (whatever that
is) instigated. Now they have "dropped the other shoe."
Last month they announced their intention to promote the
book "Of Pandas and People..." as s supplementary text.
The situation in Texas is that the State approves a list of
public school textbooks, purchases them, and supplies them
to the schools (remember the Schoolbook Depository Building
in Dallas?). The State does not approve supplemtary texts,
but it does allow individual school districts to purchase
and use what they see fit.
Several Plano residents realized that "Pandas" is a thinly
disguised argument for creationism and began to rally
against the adoption. Steve Levene, a Harvard-trained
biology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas
(which is really in Richardson, Texas, very close to the
Plano city limits) lives in Plano, and he has joined in
opposition to the book. NTS has pitched in, helping to
argue against the book.
On Tuesday this week, the board will vote on the issue, and
the current leaning is to adopt. The three fundamentalists
will surely vote for adoption, and others on the board are
not knowledgeable enough or civic minded enough to counter
their vote. Joe Voelkering has asked a local ACLU lawyer
for help, and he has pitched in. He is drafting a letter
to be delivered to the Board by Tuesday stating that he
represents certain tax payers in Plano, and he is advising
that the current issue closely parallels Edwards v. Aguillar
(spelling?), which was decided by the Supreme Court. We
shall see if the fundamentalists back down when they are
made to realize they can be held personally, financially
responsible for the cost of the books and the subsequent
litigation when they put their own private agent above the
interest of the tax payers.
I will follow up with more news.
3220 Silent Oak
Farmers Branch, Texas 75234-2273
current Vice President and Secretary,
The North Texas Skeptics
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank