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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

On The Record: Edra Bogle

For this episode of On The Record, we speak with Edra Bogle, the Democratic candidate for State Board of Education, District 14.

What prompted you to run for public office?

A local attorney asked and promised his support to our coordinated campaign and helped the county chair fill the ticket. I knew it would be difficult, when four years ago, I was county chair and asked to find someone for this position.

None of the people I contacted could do so, but I thought how important the SBOE is and was sorry that my other position precluded my consideration to run.

What would you say are the primary issues concerning your area?

People are more concerned about the TAKS test than any other issue. Like me, they believe that it is not a true evaluation of educational progress, and is actually harmful to children’s education.

Voters are also concerned that our students are falling farther and farther behind other states and countries because our schools are under-funded and political pressure has stopped the teaching of real science.

“Abstinence only” sex education has resulted in the highest rate of teen-age pregnancy of any state. Schools avoid teaching evolution (even though it is mandated on the state curriculum) for fear of political consequences, thus lowering student scores on such nation-wide evaluative instruments as the SAT, as well as handicapping those who get into a good college. An interviewer for TCU said that of sixty entering students, not one was familiar with the topic.

Other important issues are textbooks and expanding the power of local school boards, particularly in financial matters.

What are your qualifications for the position for which you are running?

My mother and grandmother were both elementary school teachers in Iowa. I graduated from Iowa State Teacher’s College with a double major in Education and Library Science.

After getting a Master of Library Service from Columbia University, I served as a librarian in two small teacher’s colleges, including campus school librarian and part-time teaching of librarianship.

At the University of Southern California, I was Education Librarian, then Associate Librarian for Public Services. When I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, I came to the University of North Texas, where I taught for 36 years until my retirement in spring 2002.

How do politics affect your family?

For the last seven weeks we have done little else than work on the campaign, and will probably continue to do so most of the time until November!

Who are the important political figures that inspired you to become active in politics?

I have always read the newspapers and followed what was happening, but no one stands out. I was more interested in ideas and in literature than in individual historical figures.

I would say Socrates, about whose trial I read in the seventh grade and who perhaps inspired my interest in classical literature.

What is your biggest hope for Texas?

A retired middle school social studies teacher told me how she would get her students interested in public issues. She asked them how the government had affected their lives in the past week. Few could come up with anything — until she asked about how they had arrived at school: On public streets? Following traffic rules? Who paid for the school? Was their family safe? Did it get mail?

“Tax” is not a four-letter word, and our voters need to realize that. They must look behind narrow self-interests and at the larger picture. We may long for the simple certainties of the past, but we are now part of a global economy in which ALL our children must be educated to take their place.

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