Texans Deserve Answers: Senate Committee to Consider Cargill Nomination for SBOE Chair

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 their public schools will be based on sound scholarship instead of the demands of culture warriors?

Second, Cargill has praised the science and social studies curriculum standards passed during her time on the SBOE. But independent organizations, including the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, have criticized those standards as seriously flawed, heavily politicized and crafted so poorly that they will fail to prepare high school graduates for college-level work. (See here, here and here.) Will Cargill continue to dismiss the criticisms of independent organizations about the quality of the curriculum standards she helped developed?

Third, SBOE members have been notorious for making last-minute changes to curriculum standards, throwing out the work of teachers, scholars and education specialists who have spent months (even years) writing those standards. Board members often have little opportunity to vet these last-minute changes before a final vote. Will Cargill move to end this practice (a practice in which she, herself, has often indulged)? Also, board members have treated the recommendations of teachers and scholars with contempt — even derisively calling them “educrats.” How will Cargill use her leadership on the board to foster respect for real expertise?

The Senate Nominations Committee includes six members. Call and encourage these senators to ask these and other important questions during Monday’s hearing on Cargill’s nomination. Click on each name for contact information.

Glenn Hegar, chair
Donna Campbell, vice chair
John Carona
Troy Fraser
Jane Nelson
Kirk Watson

Texans deserve answers to these and other important questions before confirming Barbara Cargill as chair of the State Board of Education for the next two years.

The Texas Freedom Network will monitor the committee hearing on Monday, and we plan to offer testimony about Cargill and the SBOE. If Cargill is not confirmed before the end of this legislative session, she must step down as chair. Gov. Perry would then appoint a replacement, who would be subject to confirmation the next time the Senate is in session.

8 thoughts on “Texans Deserve Answers: Senate Committee to Consider Cargill Nomination for SBOE Chair

  1. I would like to comment on the appointment of Barbara Cargill as the chair of the State Board of Education

    Barbara Cargill has stated that text books should include evidence that calls in to question the theory of evolution, even though the National Academy of Sciences has stated that there is no such scientific evidence.

    Both liberal and conservative organizations have criticized the Texas curriculum standards, which were strongly influenced by Cargill, as seriously flawed, and heavily politicized

    Rather than accepting the advice of scientists and leading academic scholars, it seems very likely that Cargill will “stand up to the experts” and ignore the facts.

    Based on these reasons, I believe that Barbara Cargill is not qualified for the position of chair of the state board of education.

  2. This would be like appointing someone who strongly supports leaving out the 13th floor in buildings because of their superstition. What about the hundreds of thousands of other unscientific mythologies, shouldn’t they get equal billing? They do not want to educate, they want to proselytize.

  3. Regarding the nomination of Barbara Cargill for the Chair of the Texas State Board of Education:
    Governor Perry has recently organized a concerted campaign to attract California companies to move their firms to Texas. Since strong effort is made to attract high tech firms, as a former resident of Silicon Valley, I can not imagine these company executives not being alarmed at the position of Barbara Cargill on the teaching of theories challenging evolution, in the Texas school system. I strongly request that you do not vote to confirm her position as Chair of the State Board of Education.

    Barbara Oldenburg

  4. Being a legal guardian for a 12 yrs old within the Montgomery County, Texas, area, and a mother, grandmother and Vietnam veteran, who knows the difference between religion and science…who has earned three BA s and a Masters. I have already have heard the agenda of Ms. Cargill to have the publishers of my granddaughter’s school books “soften” their language on evolution and teach “another side” to this foundational scientific concept.”
    I am furious that this woman’s religious orientation within a school context. I have already done my research concerning Cargill’s being placed within this EDUCATIONAL POSITION that is so POLICIAL rather than scholastic. Creation isn’t science, it is religion. How are children going to separate the real science from the philosophy of religion, as they go through school, compete nationally with those from other countries such as Japan, China, Korea, etc.

    This I know from my earlier research on Governor Perry’s pick of Cargill which is a ‘political pick’, which stinks grandly for those future depends on their teachers, substance from which they learn (textbooks) and who want jobs after graduating from high school, and to have developed the skills to asked the right questions to get the answers the questions on national and international tests to further themselves.

    What this SOUTHERN of the Mason-Dixon Line state wants, isn’t for their students to succeed, and be ready to compete with the world, this Southern State BELOW THE Mason-Dixon Line are Republicans who want to ‘control of those minds’ religiously not to think or question. This is DEPLORABLE politics which will be to not allow theirs ‘to be equal or even better’ than the rest of the world! When a state consciously want to prevent a whole generation from achieving for themselves as well as for their nation, it is despicable and GOING AGAINST THE CONSITUTION which states that in regards to the individual, there will be SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. IF THIS MS. CARGILL IS ALLOWED TO INTRODUCE CREATION AS SCIENCE AND PURPOSEFULLY CONFUSE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELIGION AND SCIENCE, YOU WILL BE HAVING A FEW LAWYERS IN MY GRANDDAUGHTER’S BEHALF.

    If this appointment is made, and I personally chance to view any of these textbooks brought home with this religious slant, YOU ALL will have a visit from me personally and my lawyer. Remember, we all have rights; SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, which the Republican party has forgotten. I haven’t forgotten what rights I had to give up when I desired to serve my county, and my granddaughter deserves the same rights LEGALLY GIVEN TO HER WHICH ARE WRITTEN WITHIN THE CONSITUTION, to learn the difference between what is a philosophy, which is religion, and what REAL science, which will keep her abreast of what is actually happening in the REAL world and allow her to compete with the rest of the world for a good job and view on life that is REAL.

    This Governor Perry appointed nominee is wrongly placed or even considered within this Texas Educational position. Interestingly, since Governor Perry spent time in the military he too, had to give up his rights; why is he expecting others with the same rights to accept something which the rights have plainly been promised throughout the legal system??

    Our personal preference for our granddaughter is that she DOES NOT GO TO CHURCH, Nor DO WE AS A FAMILY CHOSE NOT TO JOIN A CHURCH, ALTHOUGH WE BELIEVE IN THE ATTITUDE ‘DO UNTO OTHERS, WHAT YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO DO TO YOU. I’ve spoken out concerning The appointment of Barbara Cargill before, and I still STRONGLY the American citizenship opinion of ‘freedom from religion and separation of church and state’ which is a right for all Americans and know what CONSITUTIONAL RIGHTS THIS WOMAN HOPES TO OBSTRUCT through re-writing school textbook’s LEARNING as to WHAT THE REAL WORLD IS, FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY may be STRUGGLING THROUGH SCHOOL TO BECOME SOMETHING THEY ALWAYS WANTED TO BE.

    Rhonda Warmack Houston
    (Texas Voter, Legal Guardian of Granddaughter, mother, grandmother, Vietnam veteran)

  5. I just wrote the board chair. It appears Cargills degrees are M.SEd not an M.S. as she claims on her resume. She also has what is likely a B.SEd from Baylor not a B.S.
    Her resume is therefore, factually incorrect and misinformative as to her qualifications.