Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, is having a tough go of it to begin her tenure as the Texas State Board of Education gavel-master. But lame "blame the media" and "you were never meant to hear that" excuses from her and her supporters (including former board chairman Don McLeroy) will do little to fix the damage the new board chairwoman's own comments have caused. We're talking of comments from Cargill -- made just days after Gov. Rick Perry appointed her as board chair -- that offended her fellow board members. For instance, board member Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, did not appreciate Cargill's suggestion there there are only "six true conservative Christians on the board." Do a little math and it becomes clear Cargill had taken it upon herself to de-Christianize some of her fellow board members, including conservative Republicans like Craig. In a Houston Chronicle story this week, Cargill tried to explain herself: "My comments certainly were not intended to be divisive. It was for a particular audience." You see, Bob, sure she said it, but you were never meant to hear it. She thought she was just amongst friends -- friends she thought would be…… Read More

Just a reminder about what new chairwoman Barbara Cargill — and her five “conservative Christian” allies on the State Board of Education — have in mind for the meeting this week:

I am a little bit concerned in looking at some of these science online supplementary materials. I looked at one of the links and there was a picture of a — a graphic of a human fetus next to a gorilla fetus talking about how they only differ by one amino acid. Therefore, universal common decent. So that is of some concern. And I am not quite sure if we are going to have the votes to overturn that. We will work diligently to rectify and correct some of that. But remember we lost a conservative seat, so we’re down to six.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLhsWMaNQ-0]

In this unguarded moment, Cargill drops the double-speak and is honest about her plan for the first meeting over which she will preside as chair  — pressure publishers to censor scientific information from their materials and to insert bogus information questioning evolution. And she knows exactly what her task is: to get the extra votes necessary to accomplish this.

Stay… Read More

TFN Insider will be live-blogging (and live-tweeting via @TFN) from the State Board of Education’s Thursday public hearing and Friday final debate and vote on the adoption of new science instructional materials for Texas public schools. This week’s state board meeting comes two years after board members adopted curriculum standards that creationists hoped would force publishers to challenge evolutionary science in their new instructional materials. Information about the meeting times and location is here.

The Texas news media is focusing on the story, including controversial comments from Barbara Cargill, the state board’s newly appointed chair. TFN Insider broke the news about Cargill’s comments questioning the faith of some of her board colleagues and insisting that the new science instructional materials be revised to conform to her creationist views. Check out an Austin American-Statesman editorial and stories from the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.… Read More

It looks like Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, has some serious fence-mending to do after implicitly questioning the faith of some of her board colleagues last week. After telling Texas Eagle Forum activists that she was one of only “six true conservative Christians on the board,” Cargill heard from a Republican colleague who apparently didn’t make her list. According to the Houston Press, board member and fellow Republican board member Bob Craig of Lubbock called Cargill to give her a piece of his mind:

“I was offended that her comments seemed to indicate that only six people on the board were Christians. I am a Christian and very active in First United Methodist Church here in Lubbock. I have very strong religious beliefs, so that kind of comment did not sit well with me.”

Another Republican board member, Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, released a statement:

“It’s an unfortunate start to her tenure as chairwoman. These kind of comments only further divide the board rather than bring us together for the benefit of our students and our schools. I look forward to better days ahead for our new chair.”… Read More

New Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, made clear at her speech last week to Texas Eagle Forum activists that she is determined to politicize the board's adoption of science instructional materials on July 20-22. She'll be walking in the footsteps of former board chairman Don McLeroy and chairwoman Gail Lowe, both of whom failed to win Senate confirmation because they put their political agendas ahead of educating Texas kids. We've already told you about about Cargill questioning the faith of state board colleagues who don't agree with her. And we reported other troubling comments from Cargill's Texas Eagle Forum talk. But Cargill also made extended comments about the coming science adoption -- and those comments aren't encouraging for parents who want their children to get an education based on sound science instead of ideology. Read More