By William Lutz
Gov. Rick Perry named SBOE member Barbara Cargill (R-The Woodlands) as the new board chair today. This appointment is another example of Perry’s commitment to social conservative values. Despite decision from Democrats in the Texas Senate to reject the last two of Perry’s picks for the board chair position because of their socially conservative values, Perry decided to stay the course and name another social conservative chair.
Cargill is also an example of a subtle shift in the mindset of the social conservative faction of the board. In the late 1990s, the press and moderate Republicans used to attack the board’s socially conservative faction claiming they were too supportive of home schools and did not have sufficient public school experience. And while they haven’t gotten credit from the left, the conservatives listened and recruited candidates with the same solid conservative values but with experience in the public school system as well. Cargill has almost 20 years of experience teaching science, including in public school settings.
Conservatives immediately expressed support for the nomination. Ms. Cargill has stood strong against censorship of science teaching and attacks on the teaching of Independence Day, military leaders, and Christmas, while supporting history standards that ensure teaching about the U.S Constitution, our Founding Fathers, the religious heritage of our country and American Exceptionalism,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs at Liberty Institute. “We also express our appreciation to outgoing SBOE Chair, Gail Lowe, who served the SBOE well. It is a shame that 12 Democrat Texas Senators blocked Ms. Lowe’s confirmation this session, while the other 19 of the 31 Texas Senators supported Ms. Lowe. “
“We thank Gov. Perry for selecting a proven conservative and national award winning teacher in Barbara Cargill as the new chair of the State Board of Education,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO for Liberty Institute. “During SBOE meetings, Ms. Cargill always treats her colleagues with grace and respect, while being fair and confident in her efforts to do what’s right for Texas schoolchildren. She will make a fine chair for the State Board of Education for many years to come.” Read more…