UPDATE: Apparently, someone was embarrassed that we were highlighting Barbara Cargill’s comments at a Texas Eagle Forum event last week. YouTube videos of those comments have now been made private. No matter. We already have those comments and the videos. We’ll have more from Cargill’s talk — this time her troubling comments about the coming of adoption of science instructional materials — shortly.
NEWER UPDATE: The videos are again available below.
Newly appointed Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill’s talk before Texas Eagle Forum activists on Thursday in Conroe (near Houston) offered more evidence that she and her board allies are more interested in promoting political agendas than ensuring that kids get a sound education in their public school classrooms.
Consider, for example, this comment about people she has appointed to help revise math curriculum standards this summer:
“I have many nominees from District 8 who are there to represent us and our conservative voices.”
Represent “conservative voices”? In writing math curriculum standards? We were unaware that the Pythagorean theorem or equations like “2+2=4” have conservative and liberal perspectives.
Then again, Cargill is the same board member who screened applicants to serve on social studies curriculum teams by asking whether they consider themselves “conservative.”
And what about criticism that some board members have repeatedly tried to politicize curriculum standards and textbook adoptions? The new chairwoman — who replaces two immediate predecessors who failed to win Senate confirmation at least in part because their tenures were so politically divisive — had this to say to the Texas Eagle Forum folks:
“We must be doing the right thing if so many people are becoming angry.”
Gosh, that’s an interesting standard for justifying poor conduct. Would you let students get away with that one, Madam Chairwoman?
At another point in her talk she criticized media coverage of how the board’s far-right faction vandalized the revision of new social studies curriculum standards last year:
“If you watched Fox, thank you, because they were actually more accurate than most of the other media outlets.”
Really? Then why did the Texas Education Agency — headed by a political appointee of Republican Gov. Rick Perry — send out a scathing press release that ripped the Fox News network for its blatant distortions of fact during the social studies debate? From the TEA press release at the time:
“The Fox Network in recent days has repeatedly broadcast highly inaccurate information about the State Board of Education’s efforts to adopt the new social studies curriculum standards.”
The full TEA press release lists a number of whoppers from Fox News. We don’t recall TEA sending out a similar press release regarding the reporting of other media outlets. But Ms. Cargill thinks Fox did a great job. And she had this to say regarding other news media reports about the state board:
“The media has very much enjoyed making the board a mockery.”
No, Ms. Cargill. The board has done a pretty good job of doing that to itself.
Ms. Cargill also had plenty to say about the state board’s scheduled adoption of science instructional materials later this month. Stay tuned.