Far Right Conservatives Want to Unseat Longtime Swing Vote on Texas Education Board

A North Texas race may be the most watched for the State Board of Education during this year's election cycle as a 16-year incumbent tries to fend off one opponent who's supported conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama and one who is an adamant supporter of vouchers. The State Board of Education - largely charged with adopting textbooks and curriculum for the state -- has often been at the center of culture clashes, with controversies ranging from how to teach Mexican-American studies to - more frequently - heated debates about science curriculum standards. Republican Patricia "Pat" Hardy, 69, a retired educator from Fort Worth, has often been a swing vote on the board, saying she tries to keep politics out of the equation as she tries to do what's right for students. She has been a frequent target for far-right conservatives. Hardy, whose District 11 includes Parker County as well as parts of Tarrant and Dallas counties, was first elected in 2002. In 2008, Hardy defeated a challenger who was an avid creationist concerned about evolution being taught in schools. She was forced into a runoff two years ago but held off an aggressive bid by a tea party candidate.   Continue reading...

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