Nick Matzke posted Entry 3130 on May 18, 2007 11:09 PM.
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Just in from the New York Times:

The National Association of State Boards of Education [NASBE] will elect officers in July, and for one office, president-elect, there is only one candidate: a member of the Kansas school board who supported its efforts against the teaching of evolution.

Who would that be? Ken Willard, someone you may remember.

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Comment #176834

Posted by Gary Hurd on May 19, 2007 3:32 AM (e)

Oh we in a heap of trouble now.

Is it too late to enter a dead dog? We would be better off.

Comment #176882

Posted by science nut on May 19, 2007 7:20 AM (e)

Would it hurt to email our opinions on this matter to Brenda Weburn, (NASBE Executive Director)?

[Enable javascript to see this email address.]

…it sure beats abusing a poor dead dog!

Comment #177019

Posted by Frank J on May 19, 2007 2:31 PM (e)

Gary Hurd wrote:

Is it too late to enter a dead dog? We would be better off.

Great idea!

Comment #177021

Posted by Joshua Zelinsky on May 19, 2007 2:45 PM (e)

According to the NYT article there has been some discussion of making Sam Schloemer a write-in. Schloemer is one of the new Ohio board members who supports evolution.

Comment #177034

Posted by Patricia Princehouse on May 19, 2007 3:22 PM (e)

You can contact Brenda Welburn and it might do some good, but she is not in a position to change anything. The people who can change this are the state boards who have to vote. You can find your state’s contact info at:>

You can call your board members & politely urge them to do the right thing.

Comment #177035

Posted by Patricia Princehouse on May 19, 2007 3:23 PM (e)

You can contact Brenda Welburn and it might do some good, but she is not in a position to change anything. The people who can change this are the state boards who have to vote. You can find your state’s contact info at:>

You can call your board members & politely urge them to do the right thing.

Comment #177036

Posted by Patricia Princehouse on May 19, 2007 3:27 PM (e)

For more info on Sam Schloemer, the write-in candidate, see:

Comment #177044

Posted by Jack Krebs on May 19, 2007 4:13 PM (e)

In the press release on this from Ohio Citizens for Science, I was quoted as saying:

“Mr. Willard and his creationist colleagues were willing to disregard proper procedures and the advice of educational experts in advancing their radical right-wing conservative views about science and other topics important to education. I believe he would be a poor choice to lead a national organization of school boards.

My concern is not just that Mr. Willard is a creationist: my broader concern is that he has been a vocal leader of the radically conservative majority on the Kansas state Board of Education that, up until this past January when a more moderate group took control, managed to alienate many important segments of the educational and scientific communities in Kansas.

1. Mr. Willard was a strong supporter of the creationist and Intelligent Design-influenced science standards that we had from late 2005 until February 2007. A small group of Intelligent Design advocates, led by lawyer John Calvert was allowed to take over the standards process, including setting up the bogus “Science Hearings” of 2005 as a showcase for the national Intelligent Design movement. Mr. Willard voted for all of these actions, and was quite vocal in support of the Intelligent Design group’s goals and activities. He was willing to bypass standard procedures and to ignore the recommendations of the Board-appointed science committee.

2. In 2005, Mr. Willard and the rest of the conservative majority hired Bob Corkins to be the new commissioner of education. Mr. Corkins had no experience whatsoever in education or in running a large organization. In fact, his job for a number of years had been as a lobbyist against efforts to increase spending for education. In his tenure as commissioner, Mr. Corkin primarily worked at advocating for vouchers and for charter schools to be controlled by the state board as opposed to being under the control of local districts. Mr. Willard was a strong and vocal supporter of Mr. Corkins and his agenda.

3. Mr. Willard supported the conservative Board’s change to the state sex ed program, putting in an abstinence-only policy and making it so that students had to opt in to participate in sex ed programs, as opposed to being allowed to opt-out.

4. And last, Mr. Willard supported the totally superfluous spending of public money on several highly-publicized trips made by fellow conservative Connie Morris, some of which she took after she had been defeated in the primaries and most of which were not about topics supportive of public education.

Fortunately, the above-mentioned actions supported by Mr. Willard and his radical conservative colleagues have been over-turned in the few short months that a more moderate Board majority has been in control (except for the money for Morris’ trips, which is already spent.)

It is my opinion that Mr. Willard represents an excessively conservative viewpoint about many issues in education, and that he has shown that he will work to advance his agenda despite the concerns of the scientific and educational communities and despite the existence of standard procedures. For these reasons, I don’t believe he is a good choice for president of NASBE.

Comment #177046

Posted by JohnS on May 19, 2007 4:28 PM (e)

According to the NY Times article, the Association’s rules do not mention the possibility of write-in votes. Uh-oh.

There’s glee over in the halls of the ‘Discovery’ Institute.

At least the author of the article was able to state:

There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth. Courts have repeatedly ruled that creationism and intelligent design are religious doctrines, not scientific theories.

Comment #177073

Posted by Flint on May 19, 2007 8:52 PM (e)

Does this position give Willard more than a pulpit? What IS the NASBE? If only a creationist thinks the post is worth bothering to run for, this gives the impression that it’s another PR effort having little to do with actual education anywhere, except indirectly.

Comment #177092

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 20, 2007 12:53 AM (e)

If there is no recourse to putting in an opposing candidate (if political or procedural reasons prevent such a thing), maybe pointing out more publicly the facts that Jack Krebs enumerated would be an effective way of keeping Willard in the spotlight.

If the other board members receive letters from the various state Citizens for Science groups, and copies of these letters were made public, this might be a way of heading off some of the same kinds of tactics he pulled in Kansas. (I guess we can’t resort to catching him and tattooing a big red “ID” onto his forehead. That would be too much like what some of his followers would advocate for infidels.)

It’s appalling that these idiots are never really held to account. As long as the current administration is in the White House, there seems to be enough political clout to keep these creeps going in spite of the messes they make. How much more abuse is this country willing to take?

Comment #177147

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 20, 2007 7:35 AM (e)

Another problem with the write-in is that some boards may have already met to cast their ballots. For example, in 2005, Texas cast its ballots at the April meeting, since there was no meeting of the board scheduled between then and the NASBE elections in July.

The elections are in July this year. April’s gone. I’ll wager a few other state boards are in the same fix.

Publicity is the key.

Ya gotta wonder about having a guy as the only candidate for president of an organization, when the guy is wrapped up in so much controversy over an issue, with allegations of financial impropriety.

Comment #177177

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 20, 2007 8:24 AM (e)

So, um, Grady – do you think it wise to elect as leaders of educational organizations, those people who have urged teaching falsehoods to children?

The phrases you use harken back to unjustified paranoia. Can we distinguish between unjustified fears and justified fears? Is that not fair, and just, to do so?

Comment #177224

Posted by raven on May 20, 2007 11:22 AM (e)

Speaking of witchhunts, the crowning achievement of American theocratic rule resulted in 26 people being killed for witchcraft. Theocracies never work for long and often lead to rivers of blood. But if you ask creos and fundies like grady multiID poster if they want to abolish church and state and set up a cult theocracy, most of them say yes, sure, of course.

Unlikely to happen but, if the US population is dumb enough to allow it, well, welcome to the new dark ages, enjoy your stay.

Salem witch trials
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Salem Witch Trials, begun in 1692 (also known as the Salem witch hunt and the Salem Witchcraft Episode), resulted in a number of convictions and executions for witchcraft in both Salem Village and Salem Town, Massachusetts. Some have argued it was the result of a period of factional infighting and Puritan witch hysteria. The trials resulted in the executions of 20 people (14 women, 6 men) and the imprisonment of between 175 and 200 people. In addition to those executed, at least five people died in prison. One man who refused to plead to the charges was pressed to death with rocks (the medieval torture of peine forte et dure, which, if fatal, did not result in forfeiture of property).

Comment #177227

Posted by raven on May 20, 2007 11:31 AM (e)

How did NASBE end up with an anti-education wingnut as the sole candidate for president?

Very odd, and there is a story here. We don’t know what it is yet.

Comment #177231

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 20, 2007 12:14 PM (e)

raven wrote:

Speaking of witchhunts, the crowning achievement of American theocratic rule resulted in 26 people being killed for witchcraft.

My wife and I discovered in our genealogical research that she had an ancestor who died in a Salem prison for whichcraft. Digging into some of the stories from that time is a chilling reminder of where some of these theocratic types intend to take us.

Comment #177238

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 20, 2007 1:11 PM (e)

Which craft is whichcraft?


Comment #177261

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 20, 2007 2:54 PM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Which craft is whichcraft?

A: Which craft did you say you belonged to?

B: Yeah, witchcraft.

A: Yeah, which craft?

B: That’s what I though you said; witchcraft.

A: Yeah, that’s what I said, which craft?

Comment #177302

Posted by MelM on May 20, 2007 5:40 PM (e)

Can the NASBE membership remove a sitting president? If write-ins are not allowed, then removing him or asking him to quit may be the only option.

Comment #177626

Posted by Chiefley on May 21, 2007 1:41 PM (e)

Grady wrote…”“Do you now believe, or have you ever believed, in any form of creationism.”

Be reminded that the question is asked under oath, under penalty of perjury””

Since creationism is a religious point of view, and the person in question has advocated an unconstitutional teaching of it in public school science class, the scenario you suggest is not that far out of line. Similarly, the candidate should be asked if they have been convicted of any felonies.

To all,
I suggest that in electing this person as President of NASBE, they will be immediately destroying their credibility. We should start proposing that they disband.

Comment #178748

Posted by hoary puccoon on May 25, 2007 4:48 AM (e)

Do I believe, or have I ever believed in any form of creationism? Sure. Years ago, before I really looked into it, I thought the creationists might have a point. When I studied the evidence, I realized they were not only wrong, but probably deliberately lying. In other words, I changed my hypothesis as I learned more facts. THAT’S HOW SCIENCE WORKS, GRADY. And the better the scientist, the more willing he or she will be to reform or even discard a cherished hypothesis in the light of new information. That’s why science is different from religion.
Grady, your comment, aside from being paranoid, reflects an absolute ignorance of what this board is supposed to be about. Because no competent scientists would ever criticize anyone for changing an opinion to correspond to the facts.