George Clayton, the Dallas educator who upset longtime State Board of Education member Geraldine Miller in Tuesday’s Republican primary in District 12, remains something of a political mystery three days later. But he is beginning to emerge from the shadows.
All the interest, of course, revolves around the fact that Miller, who was supported by TSTA, was a moderating voice on the board, not part of the rightwing faction that has entertained the rest of the country by attempting to apply a Middle Ages model to the Texas public schools. Clayton’s GOP nomination was tantamount to election because he will have only a Libertarian opponent in November.
In a postelection interview with the Austin AmericanStatesman’s Kate Alexander, Clayton indicated he isn’t an ideologue. Instead, he called himself a “voice of reason” and a “leveler.”
In a preelection interview with the Dallas Observer, Clayton said evolution should continue to be taught in science classrooms but thought that alternative theories promoted by the Religious Right – such as intelligent design and creationism – could “find a real nice home” in humanities, philosophy or world history classes. “It seems to me you can’t be taught the one (evolution) without the other (creationism). It’s an impossibility to talk about evolution without mentioning creationism,” he was quoted in that interview.
Clayton is academic coordinator at North Dallas High School. On his own web page, he lists some pretty strong and potentially controversial (with the political movers and shakers) proposals on curriculum, salaries and standardized tests. They include a minimum teacher salary of $50,000 per year, a requirement that teachers have master’s degrees in their major areas within three years of employment and a $200,000 cap on a superintendent’s annual salary. You can check out all his proposals at http://www.georgemclayton.com.
In other State Board of Education races, TSTA supported Thomas Ratliff in his Republican primary victory over rightwing leader Don McLeroy in District 9, moderate Republican Bob Craig’s renomination in District 15 and Democrat Rebecca BellMetereau’s nomination in District 5. TSTA also is backing BellMetereau in her November challenge of Republican conservative Ken Mercer of San Antonio.