At today’s Senate confirmation hearing on Barbara Cargill’s reappointment as State Board of Education chair, Texans got a chance to see two of their elected leaders vandalizing the concept of science education in public schools.
Speaking at a meeting of Senate Education Committee just two weeks ago, Cargill said she wants publishers to “soften” their language and “teach another side” on evolution in new science textbooks they submit to the state this year. As State Board of Education chair, she would oversee the approval of those textbooks. Then at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Nominations Committee today, Cargill said critics had taken her comments out of context. (More on that in an upcoming post.) She then assured the Nominations Committee that she does not support teaching creationism in public schools.
Cargill’s comments on evolution brought about a revealing exchange between her and state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels. Campbell, a Tea Party firebrand first elected to her seat last November, seemed stunned by the idea that public school science classes can’t teach creationism alongside evolution. Cargill, on the other hand, knows the courts would not permit that and fell back on the typical… Read More
We just got back from the Texas Senate Nominations Committee hearing on Barbara Cargill’s reappointment to another term as chair of the State Board of Education. We’ll have much more soon — including some alarming comments about science from both Cargill and at least one member of the Senate committee. Meanwhile, here’s the press release we just sent out.
SBOE CHAIR’S SCIENCE COMMENTS AT HEARING HIGHLIGHT CONCERNS OVER HER APPOINTMENT
Cargill Claims to Oppose Teaching Creationism in Science Classrooms But Favors Creationist Arguments in Textbooks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2013
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller had this to say following today’s Senate Nominations Committee hearing on the reappointment of Barbara Cargill to another term as chair of the State Board of Education:
“The issue before the Senate is not Ms. Cargill’s religion. It’s whether the state board will be headed by someone who puts her own personal beliefs ahead of giving Texas children a 21st-century education. We simply can’t support the confirmation of a board chair who claims that she opposes teaching creationism in science classrooms but then insists, as she did again today, that textbooks include anti-evolution arguments that only creationists make and that… Read More
The Texas Senate Nominations Committee will consider the reappointment of Barbara Cargill to another term as State Board of Education chair on Monday. Cargill is the third evolution-denier in a row appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to chair the board. The tenure of her two most recent predecessors — culture warriors Don McLeroy and Gail Lowe — were so controversial that they failed to win Senate confirmation. In fact, the Senate hasn’t confirmed a Perry-appointed board chair since 2005.
Senators should ask some hard questions before they vote on Cargill’s confirmation this year. Here’s a few that are begging for answers:
First, Cargill said last week that she wants publishers to “soften” their language on evolution and teach “another side” to this foundational scientific concept. As we have already explained, scientists have repeatedly told board members that there is no valid scientific evidence contradicting evolution. The SBOE will consider new science textbooks for adoption this year. Will Cargill use her position as chair to pressure publishers into basing their new textbooks on her personal beliefs rather than real science when it comes to evolution and other topics? How will she ensure that what students learn in… Read More
We told you this would happen.
In 2009, when the Texas State Board of Education adopted new science curriculum standards, we warned that creationists had inserted language they would later try to exploit to pressure publishers into including junk-science arguments against evolution in new textbooks. Barbara Cargill, the Republican state board chair from The Woodlands near Houston, showed last Thursday that we were right. Speaking at a Senate Education Committee hearing in Austin about CSCOPE, a curriculum management tool developed by Education Service Centers around the state and used by many school districts, Cargill said she thinks CSCOPE doesn’t conform to the science standards because it doesn’t teach “all sides” about evolution:
“Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations…. But when I went on [to the CSCOPE website] last night, I couldn’t see anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson, everything, you know, was taught as ‘this is how the origin of life happened, this is what the fossil record proves,’ and all that’s fine, but that’s only one side.”
Cargill went on to… Read More
Bill Nye the Science Guy has gone viral with a new web video that simply must be shared with TFN Insider readers. In the vid, Nye makes an appeal to the grownups:
And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
Will the grownups on the Texas State Board of Education who want sound evolutionary science to be taught please step forward? Not so fast, Ken Mercer. Or you, Gail Lowe. Stay where you are, Barbara Cargill. Do we even need to say anything, David Bradley? And a host of other SBOE members past and present.