Texas Senate Confirms Barbara Cargill as SBOE Chair

Today the Texas Senate unanimously confirmed Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment of Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, to a second term as chair of the State Board of Education (SBOE). This is the first time since 2005 that the Senate has confirmed a Perry-appointed SBOE chair. The governor’s previous two appointees, creationists Don McLeroy and Gail Lowe, were so controversial and divisive that the Senate refused to confirm either one.

Cargill’s confirmation comes less than 10 days after state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, extracted a number of commitments from Cargill during a hearing before the Senate Nominations Committee. Under direct questioning from Sen. Watson:

  • Cargill promised to support requiring an advanced degree or significant work experience, such as 10 years, in a related field for individuals serving as “expert” advisers on curriculum matters.
  • She agreed to consider changes to the board’s rules and processes that would allow additional time for the public to review amendments board members want to make to proposed curriculum standards.
  • She said she no longer asks educators and other individuals applying to serve on curriculum and textbook review teams whether they consider themselves “conservative.”
  • She acknowledged that she was wrong when, shortly after her first appointment as chair in 2011, she characterized the divisions on the board as between six “conservative Christians” and the rest of her board colleagues.
  • She said she would not pressure publishers to force alternative “theories” to evolution in science instructional materials.

A number of senators were wary of Cargill, who has been one of the board’s far-right culture warriors since winning election to her seat in 2004. But it became clear early in this legislative session that they were concerned Gov. Perry would appoint an even more divisive board chair this summer if Cargill were not confirmed. That appointment would not have been subject to Senate confirmation until the next time the Legislature was in session — probably 2013.

So now Cargill will oversee the SBOE’s adoption of textbooks and other instructional materials for science this year and social studies in 2014. The Texas Freedom Network will watch closely to see whether Cargill keeps the promises she made before her confirmation.

7 thoughts on “Texas Senate Confirms Barbara Cargill as SBOE Chair

  1. More divisive than Cargill? Does Rick Perry possess the power to raise the dead and actually put the late Senator Bilbo on the Board? A more retrograde reactionary is difficult to imagine.

  2. Yep, same lie, different dancer. The Senate has NO recall ability, no take-backs and no oversight.

    So, woo hoo, Babs! Let’s build an Ark Park in Texas!

    Can’t wait to see Cargill squirming and lying. It won’t be long, I assure you!

    But, you know, it doesn’t matter in the long run. The science teachers will teach science and the textbook publishers will publish science. What Cargill does won’t matter one whit.

    Sad, however, to see her lying creationist carcass in the chair.

  3. docbills maxim on creationism is;
    “They’re all liars”
    Cargill is no exception.
    Untrustworthy and not a scientist
    by her continual discussion of failed creationism
    “science” talking points when under examination.
    A failed scientist at best
    and an educator on a crusade at worst.
    Either way, its still not good.
    But, if the Discoveroids are kicked out as advisors, thats a step
    in the right direction.
    Cargill may not be as deceptive
    about her creationist bedrock
    as The ‘Roids are.And the textbook issue may
    be at least derailed and only has to deal with past Tx surreptitious and underhanded science curriculum butchering by McLeRoy, who is like all creationists, a liar and a fraud.