Mary Lou Bruner stood before the Texas State Board of Education in 2010 to talk about textbooks. She was concerned, she said during her testimony, that the state’s curriculum was being controlled by outside forces.
Her statements were introduced by board member Lawrence Allen (D): “You believe … people from the Middle East are buying, using their dollars, to persuade textbook publishers to put more —”
“I think the Middle Easterners are buying the textbooks!” Bruner said, wide-eyed. “They’re buying everything else here.”
“So, they’re buying the, the morality of the —”
“I think they’re using their influence to get what they want in the textbooks,” Bruner nodded.
That was more than five years ago, and the tables have since turned for the 68-year-old retired schoolteacher from Smith County. Back then, Bruner was just a citizen airing her grievances before the state’s public officials. Now, she is poised to sit on the board herself — and to wield the kind of influence she once associated with “Middle Easterners.”