TX SBOE Chair Is Trying to Hide the Truth

The news media is picking up on the story we broke Monday about a report for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that sharply criticizes new history curriculum standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBOE) last year. And as the controversy grows, SBOE Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, is trying desperately to hide the truth about just how badly the state board screwed up.

In a statement to public radio station KUT in Austin and the Dallas Morning News, Cargill claims that the state board “works diligently” to develop curriculum standards that prepare Texas kids for college:

“I fully support the recently adopted social studies curriculum standards. The U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Founding Fathers, citizenship, patriotism, and American Exceptionalism are at the core of these standards. The State Board of Education works diligently to ensure all Texas students are exposed to curriculum standards aimed at college-preparedness, and these TEKS reflect those efforts.”

Unfortunately, that’s simply not true, and at least one of Cargill’s board colleagues and ideological allies — former chairwoman Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas — has admitted as much.

Here’s what the Austin American-Statesman reported in March 2010 as the state board’s revision of the social studies standards spiraled downward into a politicized mess:

“[I]n the social studies debate, college readiness has been overshadowed by ideological content battles, such as those over the religious motivations of the Founding Fathers and a perception that the word ‘capitalism’ has a negative connotation.

Board Chairwoman Gail Lowe , R-Lampasas, said the appointed groups of teachers and others who wrote early drafts of the standards were instructed to consider college readiness.

But Lowe said she had not followed up on whether the readiness standards have been incorporated. Nor has there has been much public discussion by board members about ensuring that the new curriculum standards will prepare Texas students to succeed in college.

An American-Statesman analysis of the standards for high school U.S. government, U.S. history and world history showed that fewer than 5 percent of the changes to the existing curriculum standards were noted in the documents to have stemmed from the focus on college readiness.”

The board ultimately made scores of ill-considered changes to the standards that had been drafted by teachers and scholars. Then Lowe, Cargill and other board members arrogantly rejected appeals to delay final adoption of the standards so that scholars and education experts could review the changes for accuracy and to ensure that they actually helped prepare students for college-level work.

Cargill knows that, but she hopes no one else was paying attention. So now she’s sending out absurd statements based on fiction, not fact.

9 thoughts on “TX SBOE Chair Is Trying to Hide the Truth

  1. Donna. I hate to break the bad news to you—everyone was paying attention. Even the state education officials in my state (nearly 1000 miles from Texas) were paying attention—close attention. They told me so themselves and indicated they were horrified at what you and your fellow fruitcakes were doing on the Texas SBOE. I live in a state with a Republican government, and the state is even redder than Texas.

    Texas state history is going to remember you guys—and the memory of you 100 years hence will not be a good one. You have guaranteed that. The historical records that will be most consulted in those times will be the newspapers archived by the State of Texas. To the best of my knowledge, they have had nothing good to say about your efforts. You people are going to be a little pile of dung in the historical memory of your state. Child abuse has a much wider net than just feeling a 5-year-olds private parts, and I personally believe and feel that what you people did falls within the sweep of that net.

  2. Oh. I forgot. This is one of my favorite Christian fundamentalist expressions:

    “The people will not hear right doctrine.”

    C’mon. Let me hear you say it. Squinch up your nose nice and tight and force the words out your nostrils rather than your mouth.

    Now. Here is right doctrine. Some fundie who believes he possesses the gift of “spiritual discernment” decides that George Washington was not killed in the Revolutionary War because he was afforded special physical protection from miniballs because God put some sort of Star Trek “force field” around him. Only born again fundies who have had their eyes “uniquely opened” by the Holy Spirit have the power to discern these special things and read scripture with correct understanding. Because the discernment is from the Lord (so they believe), the thing that is discerned is not an interpretation of historical circumstances that could have other plausible explanations. Instead, it is a FACT. Therefore, it is right doctrine, and right doctrine should be taught to all children as a fact.

    What is right doctrine? Well, basically right doctrine is whatever some fundie says it is. Call it the “spiritual prejudice of the moment.” Trouble is, their backwoods preachers often disagree on what is and is not right doctrine because they have discerned an issue differently. I have visited some of their websites, and these preachers eviscerate each other in battles that are not to be believed—all over some two-bit issue that is not worth a hill of beans for anything. If their locations were not separated by a certain amount of physical distance, I feel certain that some of it would come to blows and bloodshed. It really is that bad.

  3. That dumas right above dont no what the hail hes talkin bout.
    dont tell me the staate of Texas dont have no good edukatin. its just finer ‘n frogs hare bubba. Yu dam yankies come down here n try to change our edukatin n stuff to make us normel peeple try n acc like y’all n think like y’all n all that stuff. Wure proud of the changes the currkikulm done been maid to shoe the truf n not the lyes everthnks been tellin all these years n that fine edukated god-fearin people are finaly in control of the books in this here stait to teach the truf and prepare our future leeders for renounded schhols liek bob jones university, liberty university, oral roberts, christendom college, n colege of the ozarks.
    Plus I done red that important men like Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, n David Barton hisself, long with Richard Land whos hed of thee Southern Baptist Ethhics Co-Mittee,and some guy nanme James R Laninger all support the nuw currkikulm n all that stuff as well as hour nus presdent-to-be-rick perry-ever one of um.
    Its you dum liberals that are hidin the truf from all us god fearin Christian people. If yall’d bother listening to what fox news n the Tea party is tellin us what to beleve yall’d no yall done been lide to. they aint nuthn the matter with our nuw books finaly tellun our kids the truf.

  4. Gary.

    When I was a senior in high school, I had to take my mom’s dirty close down to the “Quick Wash” and send them through the coin-eating machines. Well, while I was sitting there, this little old poor lady came in with a load of clothes. She had apparently had some sort of profound religious experience at a pentecostal church, and she was bouncing around like a Mexican jumping bean. The day was like maybe Wednesday, but she had been on this high since Sunday, After a few minutes of stuffing clothes in the machines, she came over and sat right next to me. She was dying to tell me about her experience. Basically, I was cornered and had no choice but to listen, and here is the best I can do to capture the flavor and memory of what she told me. Buckle up. This is going to be a very short but weird ride.

    “Has you every heard of the penny cost? It was called the penny cost ’cause it just cost a penny. But back then a penny was a plenty. Well, the disciples wuz all gathered together in this here upper room, and then in come these tongues of fire and everybody started a talkin’ in strange languages. Some referred to them things as the “signs of the penny cost.” But you know what? I bet the real sign of the penny cost was the bill they got for rentin’ that thar upper room.”

  5. The ideologues on the SBOE did not “screw up”; that phrase implies that they were merely careless or incompetent. Instead, they succeeded in their actual aims; they deliberately warped education of the historical record and intentionally promoted propaganda over the facts. They didn’t commit a mistake; they committed sabotage.

  6. Gary, may I point out that you misspelled “aks” near the end of your third sentence? Having once lived in a state a ways east of Texas, I sorta became accustomed to proper spelling of these words.- Just funnin’ ya.- Your accent is pretty accurate.

  7. Speaking of the radical regressive members on the Texas SBOE, I thought you might want to read an article that helps to explain what makes them tick. For example, why is it okay to lie for Jesus when Christians are not supposed to lie. In other words, can anyone explain the range of ludicrous weirdness and irony in a way that hits at the heart of real truth. It’s a long article, but it will help you to understand these people and why they are behaving the way they are—and why they are so unreachable:


  8. No discussion of the Founding Fathers can be complete without including this great expression of faith by John Hancock. It’s time modify the curriculum again.

    “Our old Parish Vicar when he’s in his liquor
    Does merrily at his Parishioners rail
    ‘Bring forth your Tythes or I’ll kiss all your wives’
    When he’s finished up a pint of good ale.”

    John Hancock 1754