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Senator Watson’s tough questions produce promises from Cargill. Will she keep them?

Barbara Cargill got tough questions and made some new commitments when the Senate Nominations Committee considered her reappointment as chair of the Texas State Board of Education on Monday. Under intense questioning from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who had clearly done his homework, Cargill addressed a number of issues that have caused some of the biggest problems at the state board in recent years. We’ll know in real time if Ms. Cargill intends to keep the commitments she made:… Read More

Wow. It didn't take long for far-right pressure groups to start smearing clergy members who want the Texas State Board of Education to stop trying to undermine religious freedom in social studies classrooms. Just minutes after the Texas Faith Network's Capitol press conference today, the far right's lies started flying across the Internet. Jonathan Saenz, a lawyer/lobbyist for Liberty Institute, the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family, claimed that the Christian and Jewish clergy who spoke at the press conference "personally attack(ed) the Christian faith of some State Board of Education members." Really, Jonathan? How? When? It should be no surprise that he didn't offer a shred of evidence for such an absurd and reckless charge. (Folks shouldn't hold their breath waiting for Saenz to apologize to those clergy men and women.) Saenz also had the gall to question the truthfulness of clergy speakers who want social studies classes to teach the truth about how the Founders barred government from promoting one religion over all others:…… Read More

The State Board of Education’s reckless revisions to proposed social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools have raised serious concerns among classroom teachers and scholars regarding pedagogical issues and historical accuracy. Issues involving religious freedom are also a growing concern, however. In March the board rejected a proposed standard that would have required high school students to study how the Founders barred government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion. Some board members have suggested, instead, that the Founders actually wanted government to promote religion. They have also expressed strong opposition to separation of church and state.

At a press conference at the Texas Capitol today, a group of about two dozen interfaith clergy called on the state board to stop undermining instruction on religious freedom -- including the principle of separation of church and state -- in proposed new social studies curriculum standards. The clergy are members of the Texas Faith Network, a project of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. The Texas Faith Network includes more than 600 mainstream and progressive clergy from around the state.… Read More