Texas is not known for its particularly balanced educational system, which in the recent past has approved disputed history books and curriculum that doesn’t really believe in separation of church and state. Mary Lou Bruner, a 68-year-old retired schoolteacher who is running to be the Republican candidate for a Texas State Board of Education seat, could be primed to make it even less accurate.
The Texas State Board of Education has a fairly heavy influence on the content of the state’s textbooks, changing guidelines for subjects that then impact how education materials for the state are written. Bruner’s campaign has asserted that she will “promote conservative curriculum standards aligned with Texas values.” She’s currently engaged in a run-off campaign for the Republican nomination for the board seat. Bruner failed to secure the nomination outright by raking in only 48 of the required 50 percent of the vote.
That near-miss could be due to her habit of airing her rather extreme views on social media, which were recently collected and publicized by watchdog group Texas Freedom Network. Bruner’s Facebook posting history has been less than stellar with posts about how evolution is atheist propaganda; climate change is not real; slavery was not a major cause of the Civil War; and a distrust of and dislike for Islam (which she had expressed in past years to the school board as a concerned citizen). TFN also noted a whole host of conspiracy theories that might have a less immediate impact on school curriculum (President Obama is secretly gay, Democrats killed JFK).
While the light shone on Bruner’s opinions could have negatively impacted her campaign (Bruner certainly thinks so, as she told the Washington Post), she’s still favored to win the run-off. And the Houston Chronicle reports that the Republican is expected to win the seat in the general election.