This election cycle, Rebecca Bell-Metereau is the Democratic Candidate for the State Board of Education. Despite her candidacy, Bell-Metereau is unsuitable to the position for which she is running. In 2010 she helped run a smear campaign against her opponent David Barton, which resulted in a lawsuit and settlement made by Bell-Metereau. She and Judy Jennings created a video “A True Tale From Texas,” which, according to Bell-Metereau’s apology to Barton, “created a false impression about David Barton…to discredit our Republican Party political opponents on the State Board of Education, and those on whom they relied, by depicting their positions politically extreme and detrimental to education.”
In the video, Jennings and Bell-Metereau stated that Barton was known for speaking at white supremacist rallies and implied that he himself is a white supremacist. This statement is false. Barton, nor any of his associates on the State Board of Education are associated with or supportive of white supremacists.
Unfortunately, this isn’t even the beginning of why Bell-Metereau is an unsuitable candidate for the State Board of Education. In 2019, Bell-Metereau, a professor of English at Texas State University, had a question in a class quiz asking whether President Trump’s “America First” campaign platform is comparable to the principle platforms of the Ku Klux Klan. This question was a part of a quiz in response to “BlacKkKlansmen,” which is a movie about the true story of a Colorado detective who goes undercover to expose the KKK.
In a statement to The University Star, Bell-Metereau claimed that the “quiz is simply based on the information from Politifact to see if [the students] could read an article and understand what it is saying. All I want them to do [is] be able to use fact-checking sources to determine for themselves what is true and what is not true in a film that is a biopic.” Bell-Metereau went on to say to Campus Reform in a statement that “President Trump[‘s] slogan is KKK principle” is a partially correct answer to the question.
Despite this, Bell-Metereau told The University Star that she “rarely shares her personal opinions and will instead provide facts to her students so they can make their own decisions.” Her actions and test-writing show another story. In what way is it non-biased to ask students in a quiz (for which they will receive a grade, which may affect their overall grade in the class) to say that their current president’s platform is the same as one of the principles of the KKK if they want to get the question correct? Even if this is a biased way of explaining such a thing? There are far better ways to teach students about fact-checking sources.
Bell-Metereau is an unqualified candidate for the State Board of Education. She has shown herself to be incapable of separating her political biases when teaching her own classes and has had a lawsuit filed against her for wrongfully calling a Republican opponent of hers a white supremacist in order to sway voters. She is not the kind of candidate Texas needs to oversee school curricula in our public schools. I am not formally endorsing any other candidate for the State Board of Education, but I firmly believe that Rebecca Bell-Metereau is not the best candidate, or even a good candidate.
Illustration by Bella Peters.