The Texas Education Agency put Chris Comer on 30 days paid administrative leave in late October, resulting in what she described as a forced resignation.
The move came shortly after Comer forwarded an e-mail announcing a presentation being given by the author of Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse. In the book, author Barbara Forrest says creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Comer sent the e-mail to several individuals and a few online communities.
Comer, who held her position for nine years, said she believes evolution politics were behind her ousting.
"None of the other reasons they gave are, in and of themselves, firing offenses," she said...
This from USA Today.
And this Editorial from the Austin American-Statesman:
Is misdeed a creation of political doctrine?
Is this state’s education agency being driven by a political orthodoxy so fierce that it dumped its science director for passing along a harmless e-mail? It’s possible.
Chris Comer was director of the science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency for nearly a decade when she was forced to resign recently. Her offense, as unbelievable as it is to relate, was forwarding an e-mail message about a presentation by an author critical of the intelligent design approach to science education.
The education agency, of course, portrays the problem as one of insubordination and misconduct. But from all appearances, Comer was pushed out because the agency is enforcing a political doctrine of strict conservatism that allows no criticism of creationism.
This state has struggled for years with the ideological bent of the state school board, but lawmakers took away most of its power to infect education some years ago. Politicizing the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the education of children in public schools, would be a monumental mistake.
This isn’t the space to explore the debate over creationism, intelligent design and evolution. Each approach should be fair game for critical analysis, so terminating someone for just mentioning a critic of intelligent design smacks of the dogma and purges in the Soviet era...