04.23.09

McLeroy’s day in the Senate

Posted in 81st Legislature, Around The State, Education, Public Schools, SBOE, Uncategorized at 8:13 am by wcnews

Yesterday State Board of Education (SBOE) Chairman Don McLeroy finally went before the Senate for his confirmation. McLeroy has been serving in an “interim” capacity since he was appointed after the previous legislative session, via UT’s Texas Politics - Executive Branch Appointments:

If a vacancy occurs while the Legislature is not in session (and it regularly meets for less than six months every two years), appointees can serve in the position until the Senate convenes and takes up confirmations. So a governor may make an interim appointment even knowing the nominee will later be rejected. The nominee gets to serve for a limited period of time and perhaps can even use the opportunity to convince enough senators that he or she should keep the post.

(Quick note. This is a process that should be fixed - we shouldn’t let people serve for up to up to 18 months without Senate confirmation. Not that we need another Constitutional Amendment in Texas, but this certainly needs an adjustment. It certainly seems possible that the Texas Senate could do confirmation hearings in the interim.)

I recommend checking out the liveblog of the hearing from the Texas Freedom Network. They also have a wrap up of the post that asks the question, Is McLeroy’s Confirmation in Trouble? It takes two-thirds of the Senate to confirm an appointee, and even this GOP Senate can’t change that rule, at least not yet.

It looks like Sen. Eliot Shapliegh (D-El Paso) and Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) did most of the grilling of McLeroy. Shapleigh, after the hearing, sent out a press release [.pdf] that stated:

“Right now, Texas needs strong education leadership, particularly in math and science to make us competitive in the 21st Century… Don McLeroy is not qualified to serve as chairman of such an important board as the State Board of Education (SBOE). His views on creationism do not square with science; his views on reading do not square with evidence; his views on the future of education in Texas do not square with a diverse state seeking education excellence.”

The press release includes some of McLeroy’s more striking statements on how he views the future of education curriculum in Texas. It would be best for public education in Texas if there was different leadership at the SBOE.

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