The Texas Education Agency has fired its top science advisor because she promotes evolution.
After 27 years as a science teacher and 9 years as the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer said she did not think she had to remain “neutral” about teaching the theory of evolution.
But now Ms. Comer, 56, of Austin, is out of a job, after forwarding an e-mail message on a talk about evolution and creationism — “a subject on which the agency must remain neutral,” according to a dismissal letter last month that accused her of various instances of “misconduct and insubordination” and of siding against creationism and the doctrine that life is the product of “intelligent design.”
Ms. Comer said that barely an hour after forwarding the e-mail message about Dr. Forrest’s talk, she was called in and informed that Lizzette Reynolds, deputy commissioner for statewide policy and programs, had seen a copy and complained, calling it “an offense that calls for termination.” Ms. Comer said she had no idea how Ms. Reynolds, a former federal education official who served as an adviser to George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, had seen the message so quickly, and remembered thinking, “What is this, the thought police or what?”
Under pressure, Ms. Comer said, she sent out a retraction, advising recipients to disregard the message.
But Ms. Comer, the divorced mother of a grown son and daughter and the supporter of an ailing father, was still forced out of the $60,000-a-year job, she said, submitting her resignation on Nov. 7. She and the agency said nothing about her departure until The Austin American-Statesman obtained a copy of the “proposed disciplinary action” and her resignation letter.
[Previous ending edited. I’d rather sacrifice a punch line than a friend.]