State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill appears to be headed toward confirmation by the state senate after winning approval Monday from the Senate Nominations Committee. The key committee vote was cast by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. If Cargill is confirmed by the full Senate, it would mark the first time since 2007 that a state education board chair has cleared the upper chamber. Two previous chairs – both Republicans – were rejected in 2009 and 2011, mainly because of opposition from Senate Democrats. Both had to be replaced by Gov. Rick Perry after those legislative sessions ended.
Cargill, R-The Woodlands, was pressed by Watson last week about some of her past actions as a member of the state board’s social conservative bloc, including her creationist views on the origin of humans. But she told Watson she will not push her views when it comes to new science textbooks and learning materials scheduled to be considered later this year. “In biology and science classes, I want to stick to the science. The other (religious-based theories) need to be taught at church or in the home,” she told the nominations committee. She also told the panel she made some mistakes that won’t be repeated – such as classifying board members as either Christian conservatives or others in remarks she made to a political group.