Anti-Public School Evangelicals Now Control Alabama and Texas Education Boards

Bible in schools

Someone who is qualified for a job is generally expected to have sufficient capacity, passion, knowledge, experience and skill that matches or suits the position they seek and makes them eligible for an office or position. In fact, qualification can be thought of as denoting fitness for a job through the fulfillment of necessary conditions such as education, training, and a high degree of experience in the appropriate discipline. It is obvious that the owner of a professional sports franchise, say a National Football League team, would only hire a hair-stylist who detests, and has never played, the game of football as a general manager and head coach if they wanted their team to fail miserably. That is an absurd idea, but it is precisely what two religious Republican governors who want to decimate their state’s public education system did in appointing evangelical anti-public education fanatics to run their state’s public school systems.

There is a predilection among Republican governors devoted to a theocratic America to transfer taxpayer money set aside for public schools to private evangelical madrassas to both keep their residents ignorant and indoctrinate them in neo-Christian dogmata and superstition. This week, Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley followed Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s lead and appointed a fiercely anti-public school Christian fundamentalist to lead the Alabama Board of Education to transform the state’s public education system into a 12-year Christian indoctrination camp for Alabama children. But, one might say, at least the Alabama governor chose an evangelical freak who has passion, knowledge, and at least a decade of experience in public education that qualifies him to control the state’s public education system, but that is not the case.

The 28-year old fundamentalist Christian, Matthew Brown, who is running Alabama’s public school system is a highway designer who attended a Christian college. He has never set foot in or attended a public school in his evangelical life. He also believes public education is an abomination before his god and says he will never allow his children to get near a public school. Brown is also renown for his illegal campaign to defund Alabama’s public education system; what Alabama governor Bentley considers excellent qualifications to run the Board of Education. According to Bentley, the leader of the Board of Education’s fundamentalist Christian ‘education’ and hatred of public schools is consistent with the Republican Party’s political philosophy that will allow him to “bring a unique perspective to the Board of Education.” Last year, the new Education leader was successful in a drive to cut education funding and defeat an education improvement tax to purposely put a monumental strain on Alabama’s education resources. Brown also fits nicely with Republican philosophy because according to Alabama’s Secretary of State, he violated several provisions of the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act like any proper and highly motivated evangelical Republican.

Regardless Brown’s record of religious bias against the public education system, and against the advice of his staff and state education leaders, Governor Bentley appointed the unqualified, inexperienced, openly hostile 28-year-old in charge of public education because “Brown is a young man after Bentley’s own heart.” Since being elected in 2010, Bentley has signed legislation transferring over $30 million a year away from public schools to private evangelical school voucher programs. Bentley signed another law that allows private religious charter schools to open across Alabama and gave them sole authority to approve new religious charter schools over the objection of local school boards. Plus, despite his new Education chief has no education experience except attending a Christian college, Bentley is enamored with Brown because “he believes in Jesus.” That “Jesus qualified” designation is tantamount to allowing an fourth grader to perform brain surgery because they saw a microscope on television, but in Alabama and Texas belief in Jesus qualifies one to lead the public schools.

The new head of Texas Education Department is as unqualified as Brown with stellar qualifications amounting to being a Christian fundamentalist who home-schooled her children in the biblical arts. Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed the Christian home-school mom and (Jerry Fallwell’s) Liberty University graduate Donna Bahorich because her experience with public schools is abhorring public education not founded on bible superstition. Apparently, Abbott felt the need to replace former evangelical creationist Don McLeroy because he failed to completely abolish science education in Texas schools. He did, however, approve textbooks teaching that biblical Moses helped the Founding Fathers write the U.S. Constitution along with several other gems of Christian revisionisms regarding the role of the bible in America’s founding and history.

The president of the Texas Freedom Network, Kathy Miller said that “If Gov. Abbott wanted to demonstrate that he won’t continue his predecessors’ efforts to politicize and undermine our state’s public schools, this appointment falls far short. This is the person who’s ultimately responsible for decisions that’ll affect children across the state. She’s someone who doesn’t understand science or history and whose own background has little to do with education policy. The governor appointed an ideologue that guarantees the board will continue to put culture war agendas ahead of educating more than 5 million Texas kids.”

Even a prominent Republican from Mt. Pleasanton who is also on the state school board, Thomas Ratliff, was critical of Abbot’s appointment and condemned the choice of a fundamentalist with absolutely no experience whatsoever in public education. Ratliff said, “Public school isn’t for everybody, but when 94-percent of our students in Texas attend public schools I think it ought to be a baseline requirement that the chair of the State Board of Education have at least some experience in that realm, as a parent, teacher, something.”

One pundit summed up Abbott’s choice to lead the state’s Education system by saying, “What did you expect Abbott to do? Appoint someone who actually knows what he or she is doing? He doesn’t have that in him. He’d rather screw over millions of teenagers trying to get an education comparable to what kids get in other more competitive states than upset his religious base.” Abbott has quickly established a record of not standing up to his “base” whether they are anti-science and anti-education religious fanatics or conspiracy-freaks afraid that President Obama is sending the United States military to overthrow and conquer Texas.

Both Abbott’s and Bentley’s appointments of highly unqualified religious fanatics with no experience in public education is founded on their desire to abolish public schools and replace them with a taxpayer-funded evangelical madrassa system; a two-fold assault on America. First, misappropriating taxpayer dollars for biblical instruction is patently unconstitutional, and second, it is another tactic to wipe out America’s public education system as part of their crusade toward government by theocracy. A crusade, by the way, that most in government are terrified of challenging because god, Jesus, and bible apparently supersede the U.S. Constitution, or government officials would put a stop to it.

In Texas’ case, an incompetent religious fanatic as Board of Education chairperson is a certain means of perpetuating the indoctrination of 5 million children every year to deny history and science and remain as ignorant and stupid as the current generation. Republicans thrive on perpetuating incompetence and ignorance in their crusade to keep Americans in poverty because children without an education are doomed to low-wage jobs. Even Republicans are well-aware that employers looking for prospective employees competent in superstition and archaic mythos are few and far between; except in Texas and Alabama where inexperience and belief in fairy tales will get one appointed head of the state Board of Education.

45 Replies to “Anti-Public School Evangelicals Now Control Alabama and Texas Education Boards”

  1. These are our true enemies. Xtian robots with their narrow minded hate for anything that they think is different, nasty or more intelligent than they are. They are afraid of anything that questions their rigid belief that only they know what is right for the rest of us and our country.

    This is the war we need to fight.

  2. NO SIR!! That is NOT the Christian Way that I was raised. These people are nothing more than the proverbial False Profits. They are NOTHING BUT PURE EVIL, Satan, every last one of them!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Is there a way to send them back to the days of the Inquisition and let them know how insanely painful and deadly rampant, unchecked fundamentalism can be? Mr. Peabody, I need your Way-Back Machine!
    … btw, if they want to live in a fundie state this badly, we can just leave them there!

  4. Worse yet it is the Texas School board that approves all the text books that are used in public schools throughout the Nation.

  5. brodie224:
    You are right on target, in every respect;
    and your final call rings like that of Paul Revere.

    The Xtians are coming.
    The Xtians are coming.

    it is chiefly the Xtians who are armed;
    this, because the truly decent men and women of this nation are more inclined to The Path of Jesus
    than to “the terrible swift sword”.

    We may well be doomed.

  6. Christian terrorists are no better than any other terrorists. Please wake up America and get these zealots out of office!

  7. Let me guess…someone’s relative just happens to own a business of administration of private education facilities and will be hauling in millions living off the government per-child subsidy.

  8. Perhaps the 2016 Democratic candidate would do well to ignore the Republican candidate and go after the party on a nationwide scale. The GOP is extremely vulnerable on every front.
    On a different note, I read most of the Book of Revelations yesterday. If evangelicals want to know about the coming of global warming they just need to read chapters 8 through 10 of that book.

  9. That’s why the two states are great states to be “from!” Who, with a brain, would want to live and bring up their kids there?

  10. With Jerry Brown mow Governor and California’s public finances improving, does anyone know when California will be buying new text books? I am sure that CA will not buy the TX Bullshit Textbooks that the textbook makers are peddaling to other states. If CA buys new textbooks, the other states will not be forced to buy the crappy TX textbooks that are about the only thing available. That means the TX School Textbook Commission will not be able to dumb down the entire country.

    I wonder if the Matthew Brown in AL and Jerry Brown in CA are related? I suspect not. [WINK]

  11. THIS IS THE SOUTH! southern caucasian males who believe the SLAVE OWNING south was americans shining moment unfortunately aren’t all dead yet! The south believe it or not, is STILL fighting the civil war! lets face facts! just because the rest of the world is evolving, that doesn’t mean certain regions of the usa is!! this is classic conservatism! NEVER evolve! NEVER yield to better ideas! NEVER! it blows my mind that in the 21st century human beings like this still exist! well isn’t history a TRIP? it ALWAYS, in some form more or less, ALWAYS repeats it’s self. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you, this is “NEANDERTHAL MAN” vs. ”Homo sapien” ROUND 2, todays conservative are nothing but neanerthal man! and evolution is a BIT@H too, because it ALWAYS wins! enjoy your time conservatives, because YOU’RE going BYE BYE.

  12. …which explains why I can be heard to mumble
    “I want my Jesus back”
    each time I read of some new Xtian assault on decency.

  13. My last point, heres another fun fact, ALL these young children the GOP’s FAKE ”god SQUAD?”! YOU’RE not helping these children by TRYING to brainwash them to VOTE republican! LMFAO in reality, MANY of these children will REBEL! WAKE UP! MANY of these children will actually jump on the INTERNET and realize the BULL$HIT you’ve been feeding them is just that, BULL$HIT! conservatives just aren’t bright people! this isn’t the 1950’s! this isn’t the LILY WHITE utopia YOU tried to invent! these children are going to interact with the REAL WORLD! and if they start parroting that swill, you’ve feed them, THEY’RE going to be laughed at! so unless YOU intend to keep them on the FARM, ALL that brainwashing will be for naught!

  14. The appointment of Matthew Brown to the Alabama School Board came with a total of $100,000 annual compensation. You mentioned his job as a DESIGN ENGINEER for the County Highway Dept. which is a Merit System job that would require experience and responsible engineering qualifications. A college degree in mechanical engineering, the Pensacola Christian College describes it as engineering according to God’s law,without experience in Civil Engineering for Highways or any qualifying work experience seems to be an “in your face” appointment. A strait-jacket education and no experience adds up to half-educated, and this is scary when you consider that the students in the School District will be in the work force in just a few years…half educated. You mention textbooks but not the Printers. Check the sources of the Printing Companies and you will likely find tax-exempt operations owned by Churches. WE have a problem.

  15. And this whole thing has been set up and orchestrated for many years by people that doesn’t believe that Jesus was a son of God.
    My oldest sons both went to Dallas Schools during the first of the Beatles craze. Kids were encouraged by people controlling show business to try to embrace everything “Beatle”. And of course that was a perfect excuse for the schools to set up dress codes for kids at just the right age to be rebellious to fight against. Parents didn’t have a chance.
    There wasn’t enough books to go around. The kids had to share. Half had the book the first half then switch for the second. Not enough books, but AstroTurf on the football field for just a few to even be allowed to use.
    It is not public schools at fault, they can’t be any better than who controls them.

  16. The whole idea of homeschooling and the “Christian” schools were set up to start with to serve the rabid racists. But the Engine that pulled that train were the same traitors that were putting what has happened since in motion.
    I lived in Dallas, Oak Cliff in fact when President Kennedy was shot. And I have never believed for a second what the official story was. I saw how much control the rich oil men and republicans in general had. And how much they hated President Kennedy. He was threatening to change the balance of things and cut into profits. He had to go. The only news people had then was just what we were allowed to know. And look around at the results.

  17. They need to get rid of courses in genetics, meteorology, archaeology, and history! Too many facts for these religious fanatics. The christian quest to control all sources of education will never succeed. Our youth will eventually realize they have been lied to and see the truth in science and history.

  18. It’s time to give these Christians the War on Christianity that they claim is going on! And this is a war that needs to be won for the good of this world.

  19. I am a Christian and a scientist. Yes, that is possible. With a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry (physics minor) I taught physics at Auburn University for more than 30 years. I grieve to see how people who are poorly educated in both science and the Biblical faith they claim bring Christianity into disrepute by their ignorance. I have spent a lifetime trying to educate teachers-to-be and the general public beyond my university classes in the methods and the grand organizing theories of science, such as biological evolution and “Big Bang” cosmology.Christian faith is not anti-science per se. Fundamentalism and Biblical literalism are, obviously, but they are not the essence of Christianity. As an Alabamian whose children were educated in Auburn public schools, among the best in the state, I deplore the current actions of our legislature and governor to destroy them.

  20. The problem Doctor Ward, is that those numbnutz who are running the show ALSO feel that theirs is the correct version of Christianity.

    Between you and they- who is ‘winning’?

  21. As someone who thinks public schools are the way to go, the idea of putting anyone who hates public schools on the Board of Education in any state is really kind of defeating the purpose here.

    The best way to prepare for the world of today is to have a good education and public schools allow for that. These nincompoops are creating a world that shelters them from reality… that bubble will burst one day. Let’s make sure that bubble bursts real soon so that they can see what they are: Charlatans posing as Christians.

  22. Mrs. Ward, I agree with you 100%. I studied Social Science not Physical Science in College. But I understand a lot of things from reading about things that interest me. I consider myself a master of minutiae.
    Pope Francis certainly knows science. He has a Masters Degree in Chemistry and was a Chemist by trade before entering the Seminary. I can hardly wait until the Pope speaks to a Joint Session of Congress. It will be interesting to see what the MSM, which is Corporate owned, will have to say about the speech.
    I know many in the South will disagree but I have to say it.

  23. Every red state governor, Jindahl, Walker, Brownback, Abbot, et al, has taken this playbook directly from ALEC. The destruction of secular public education is a cornerstone of their unholy war on intelligence.

    Ignorant people are easier to scare, easier to oppress, after all.

  24. The article contains inaccuracies.
    Don McElroy was on the Texas Board but lost a reelection bid in 2009. Abbott became governor in 2014.The following sentence cannot be true.

    “Apparently, Abbott felt the need to replace former evangelical creationist Don McLeroy because he failed to completely abolish science education in Texas schools.”

    This is the only inaccuracy I know of in the article. Right wing conservatives use disinformation to encourage their followers. I did not expect it here. Objections must be based in truth. It calls into question the veracity of the entire article.

  25. Wow djc Fascinating Subject, Thanks!

    *This map shows the US really has 11 separate ‘nations’ with entirely different cultures*

    “People choose to move to places where they identify with the values,” Woodard says. “Red minorities go south and blue minorities go north to be in the majority. This is why blue states are getting bluer and red states are getting redder and the middle is getting smaller.”

  26. If I still had a kid in school, you’d better believe I’d find out where the books come from, and I’d read through them. And, if I didn’t like how our history was offered, I’d rip the kid out of the public school system and put them in a parochial school…doesn’t have to be Catholic, any parochial school, unless it’s evangelical, would do.

  27. Charlotte, I was so interested to read your comments about
    this article in….very insightful and very much on point concerning this absurd appointment by our governor of someone who is obviously totally unqualified,but also completely hostile, to public education in Alabama….thank you for voicing your opinion and expertise on the subject….I’ve been in a couple of Olli classes with you at AU this past year and I always enjoy and appreciate your very interesting and important additions to the discussions….a fellow Alabamian who is very concerned about the direction that the present administration is taking our state….Peace, Judy Ballard

  28. if we look at history we can see all of the wars caused by conflicting religious zealotry. This is one important reason why we are supposed to have a separation of church and state.

  29. I don’t know how the other 49 states are going to take it when they find out in Texas History, Jesus Christ died at the Alamo for your sins.

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