Barbara Cargill, who chairs the Texas State Board of Education and is running for re-election to her District 8 seat this year, still thinks she is one of a minority of “conservatives” on a state board in which 11 of 15 members are Republicans. And she also wants voters to know that she’s working to protect Texas kids from Planned Parenthood and Muslims.

The Conservative Coalition of Montgomery County (CCMC) this week posted video of a discussion with Cargill at a meeting last February. The group also posted video from a discussion with Cargill’s opponent in the May 29 GOP primary, Linda Ellis. Both candidates are from The Woodlands just north of Houston. (You can watch CCMC videos for Cargill, Ellis and candidates for other elective offices here.)

Cargill got into trouble just days after Gov. Rick Perry appointed her board chair last July, when she suggested that some of her Republican colleagues weren’t Christians and conservative. In her talk before the CCMC in February, Cargill left out the suggestion that five of her Republican colleagues aren’t Christians, but she made clear that she… Read More

In the 1990s, San Antonio businessman James Leininger — the religious right’s sugar daddy in Texas — poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into State Board of Education (SBOE) races. That money helped hard-right social conservatives build a multi-year campaign to take control of the board — and turned subsequent board debates over textbooks and curriculum standards into divisive “culture war” battles that put politics ahead of education. But new campaign finance reports — which cover contributions and expenditures for January 1-April 19 — to the Texas Ethics Commission show that far less money is flowing (so far) into most election contests for all 15 SBOE seats this year. Moreover, Leininger hasn’t contributed any money (so far) to candidates in those races.

In the District 12 Republican primary, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas, is spending a lot of her own money to win back her old state board seat, which she lost to George Clayton, R-Richardson, in 2010. Miller’s spending tops that of all SBOE candidates, by far. She reported nearly $93,000 in campaign expenditures over the first four months of this year. That’s in addition to the $41,000 she spent in the last six months of… Read More

Five of the Texas State Board of Education‘s far-right bloc have endorsed Marty Rowley of Amarillo in the Republican primary for the District 15 state board seat. Rowley’s campaign blog says board Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands; former chair Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas; Charlie Garza, R-El Paso; Terri Leo, R-Spring; and Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio have “unanimously” endorsed him. We don’t know what he means by “unanimous”: a sixth member of the board’s far-right bloc, David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, is not on the list of endorsers. (All of the board’s far-right members except Leo are seeking re-election this year.)

Rowley is seeking the board seat currently held by Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, who is not seeking re-election. Anette Carlisle, president of the Amarillo Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, is also running for the Republican nomination for that seat. Steven Schafersman of Midland is the lone Democrat running for the seat.

The Texas Freedom Network’s SBOE Election Watch page includes more information about the board elections and candidates.

(Thanks to TFN Insider reader abb3w for the heads-up.)… Read More

Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, is trying to lock up her religious-right base in her race for re-election this year. In an email today, the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council is touting Cargill’s planned speech on March 1 at the Montgomery County Pastor Luncheon:

“The Texas State Board of Education has been in the national media repeatedly in the past several years over our stand for protecting history textbooks from political correctness, teaching both strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, and now over the assault by allies of Planned Parenthood to undermine Abstinence Based sex education.

Hon. Barbara Cargill is now the SBOE Chairman and one of the courageous conservatives who has withstood intense attacks by anti-religious groups such as Texas Freedom Network, ACLU and others. YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM HER as to why there is such a battle for control over Texas education and what we need to do this year!”

TFN is an “anti-religious group”? That would certainly surprise the clergy leaders who serve on our board as well as the hundreds of others who participate in our Texas Faith Network.

We do, however, oppose… Read More

This should tell you a lot about the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Texas State Board of Education. Last year the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute sharply criticized the state board for its “ideological manipulation,” historical revisionism and contempt for expertise in adopting new social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools in 2010. Today a new Fordham report gives science curriculum standards adopted by the state board in 2009 a grade of “C.” Yet here’s what state board Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, had to say about the new Fordham report:

“As a science teacher, I am pleased that our standards received a score of 5 out of 7 for content and rigor. We look forward to continuing to work with Texas teachers to bring the best instruction to the classroom with our excellent science standards.”

Seriously? She celebrates a “C” grade? She really thinks Texas is giving kids the “best instruction” with “excellent science standards” that, in fact, get low marks from a conservative education think-tank? News flash for Ms. Cargill: Most parents don’t think mediocrity is something to celebrate, especially when it comes to the education of their… Read More