Not exactly breaking news, but an update is needed to an earlier blog post on the Texas State Board of Education: Barbara Cargill (R-The Woodlands) was unanimously confirmed last week by the state Senate, making her the first SBOE chairman appointee of Gov. Perry to pass legislative vetting since 2005.
Cargill, a former high school biology teacher, is known widely as a social conservative—or as Texas Freedom Network calls her, “one of the board’s far-right culture warriors.”
If you know TFN, founded by Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, you know they mean she’s a Christian with a biblical worldview. Imagine the horror.
But she is regarded as fair-minded to those on the board to the left of her.
Austin Democrat Sen. Kirk Watson quizzed her on her views of intelligent design and other issues and reportedly got commitments from her on several hot-button issues that satisfied him and Senate Democrats that she wasn’t interested in a plotting a religious coup d’etat from the war room of the Texas Edcuation Agency.
Thomas Ratliff, a Republican SBOE member who is widely considered a moderate on the board, voiced his support for Cargill, even though he acknowledged the two have ideological differences.
I watched her and interacted with her a bit in 2011 at the SBOE’s meeting that dealt with science standards. She seemed professional, competent, and polite to all board members. I got the sense that she is less of a lightning rod than her predecessor, Don McLeroy, he being unafraid to state his thoughts clearly, and sometimes without political forethought.
As more Texans (hopefully) grasp the power this board has to help Texas public schools provide a sound, well-rounded, common sense, non-sectarian education (yes, even in science classrooms), the outcomes can be good. Again, pray for these folks. They need it and deserve it.