June 26, 2008

Donna Callaway Quits State Board of Education: Florida's Gain is Tallahassee's Loss

Donna Callaway, the Jeb Bush-appointed point harridan to the State Board of Education who led efforts to overturn Florida's new science education standards has resigned from the Board. She's taking a job as the new principal of Raa Middle School in Tallahassee. Callaway is also a member of the First Baptist Church, the fundamentalist church that coordinated efforts to oppose sound science education. Callaway herself was known to refer the press to statements she made through that church's publication, Florida Baptist Witness, when questioned about her advocacy for intelligent design and it's "teach the controversy" dissemblance.

Evolution foe quits state school board
By Ron Matus, Times Staff Writer

Donna Callaway, the state Board of Education member best known for her opposition to the state's new science standards, has resigned to become a middle school principal in Tallahassee again.

"I have always held a special love for Raa Middle School, and I am thrilled to accept this unique opportunity to return to the school where I was able to positively influence students on a daily basis," she said in a press release sent out by the Department of Education on Wednesday. "Having direct connection with students and teachers allows me to continue the education successes our state has achieved in these last several years."

Callaway previously served as principal at Raa from 1994 to 2004...
I'm not sure what the significance of Callaway's resignation might be. Her efforts to overturn education regarding evolutionary biology in Florida's public schools ultimately foundered, with the Discovery Institute-authored "Academic Freedom" bill she supported dying in the state legislature. The optimist in me wants to believe that Callaway resigned because she realized that her efforts were going nowhere and has been informed that Neo-Creationists aren't going to try to revive the issue when the legislature again convenes later this year. That's pure hopeful thinking on my part; I don't have any evidence to believe it's really the case.

Perhaps it's because Callaway wants to do exactly what she says she wants to accomplish in her statement above; she wants to influence the education of school children (which I suppose she couldn't do while serving on the State Board of Education, eh?) In that case, if I were a parent with a child at Raa Middle School and a concern about the quality of education regarding science that child was to receive, or if I were a science teacher at Raa, I would be keeping a close eye on what was happening at that school. Callaway being at the helm could be a harbinger of things to come. Watch out for religious materials being introduced into the classroom at Raa.

Or maybe Callaway is thinking about a future run for some office. Remember, she couldn't keep her months straight when she wrote this piece for Florida Baptist Witness and called February November.

Anyone who advocates on behalf of sound science education will be happy that Callaway is leaving Florida's SBOE, and rightfully so. Somehow, I don't think we've heard the last of her.

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