Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Victory for science and kids

Half of the Kansas Board of Education is up for election this year. The primary results yesterday gave a strong rejection of the far right creationists who have a 6-4vote majority. Four of the five seats up for election this year are held by conservatives.

  • Moderate incumbent Janet Waugh (D) turned back a stealth challenge from an African-American. She faces no general election challenger.
  • In Western Kansas, Connie Morris (R) was called evolution a "fairy tale" and made many an anti-immigrant pitch was defeated by moderate Sue Cauble. Cauble will face Democrat Tim Cruz in the general election.
  • In the 9th District, moderate GOP Jana Shaver defeated Brad Paltz, the son-in-law the current creationist incumbent.
  • In the 7th District creationist Ken Willard defeated moderate Donna Viola. He'll have a Democratic opponent in November. He'll face former Rep. Jack Wempe in November.
  • In Johnson county, incumbent John Bacon narrowly defeated science teacher Harry McDonald. There was a third candidate in the primary, also pro-science as I undertand. Bacon received a little less than fifty percent. McDonald will be supporting Democrat Don Weiss in the general election.

After the primary, this is net gain of two for the moderates. Both of these gains took place in the more rural districts. There is a good chance for the Democratic candidates to win in both the 7th District (Hutchinson) and the 3rd. If so that would mean a 8-2 science and common sense majority.

Josh Rosenau has a summary

The Board is back in moderate hands no matter what. The night is, on balance, a victory. It'd be nice to further marginalize the extremists by winning the remaining races in November, but we've got a majority that will implement the science standards recommended by the scientists, educators and parents of the science standards committee. The Board can focus on bigger issues. They can dig into ways to address the special challenges of rural districts, and to find solutions to the problems faced by the students in poorer urban districts. Real challenges, not fake controversy. Helping kids, not fighting culture wars.

That's what tonight was about, and the kids won. This wasn't Dover rejecting a few municipal officials. It's a whole state turning against the divisiveness of the IDolators. Congratulations, Kansas!

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