Gov. Perry Appoints New SBOE Chair, Cargill: Liberty Institute Applauds Pick

July 1, 2011

Click here to see Gov. Perry’s announcement.

See Liberty Institute Statement here: LibertyInstituteStatementCargillChairAnnouncement

AUSTIN, Texas, July 1, 2011 – Today, Gov. Rick Perry announced his appointment of Barbara Cargill as the new State Board of Education (SBOE) chair. Ms. Cargill has served on the 15 member elected SBOE since her election by the people in November 2004, running as a Republican, and was reelected to her seat representing District 8 in 2008.  Ms. Cargill holds a Masters of Science in Science Education from Texas Women’s University and an undergraduate degree from Baylor University, and has worked in the field of science education for over 25 years having taught in two different school districts in the state of Texas.

Ms. Cargill was awarded the Thanks to Teachers National Excellence Award, the National Audubon Society Award, and the A.J. Sales Educational Award. She was a nominee for both the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching and the Science Teacher’s Association of Texas Outstanding Teacher award.

As chair, Ms. Cargill will lead the SBOE, currently comprised of 11 Republicans and four Democrats.

“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.”

“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. “

Liberty Institute frequently attends and testifies at SBOE meetings, and has led numerous efforts to inform Texans about important curriculum and textbook related matters decided by the SBOE for many years.

Note:  Texas Education Agency website used for biographical information.

“Moderate” Republican Supports Texas Social Studies/History Standards, Gail Lowe For SBOE Chair

March 30, 2011

In a special article today in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, State Board of Education Member, Pat Hardy writes in support of the texas social studies standards approved in May 2010 and in support of conservative Republican Gail Lowe being confirmed by the Texas Senate this session, i.e. before the end of May.

See the article here.

I put the word moderate in quotes because the media often likes to describe Pat Hardy as a moderate even though I think you’ll find that Pat sees herself as a conservative and Pat is a strong supporter of the Texas Social Studies standards.  She also has over 40 years of experience in education, particularly in the subject of social studies.

Pat says this in her article: “Some activist groups, including one from Washington, D.C., don’t like our social studies standards. However, Lowe should be judged on her respect and fairness during meetings, not whether or not her votes match up with D.C.-based power players.

As an educator with 40 years’ experience as a social studies teacher and coordinator, I fully support the social studies standards adopted in May 2010 by the State Board of Education by a 9-5 vote.

To repeat a curriculum adoption process that lasted nearly 18 months would be a misuse of precious tax dollars and would thwart the will of the voters. Little, if any, changes in the actual content would result.

Perry appointed Lowe for a second term. There is no good reason why she should not be confirmed.”

Public Education Chair, Rep. Eissler, on Social Studies Standards, Gail Lowe, and Fordham Institute report

March 22, 2011

Yesterday, Jonathan Saenz with Liberty Institute spoke with Representative Rob Eissler, Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, on Texas’ Social Standards, Gail Lowe, and the Fordham Institute Report.

“I continue to support the social studies curriculum standards and the work of the State Board of Education and its chair, Gail Lowe.  Any questions I had about the process existed before I visited with Mrs. Lowe.  Now I have a greater understanding of the State Board of Education’s process.  My questions have been answered, and my concerns have been put to rest.” – Statement from Rep. Eissler

See here for official document.

To get the truth on Texas’ Social Studies standards, visit

See Liberty Institute’s response to the Fordham Institute’s report here.

Texas House Public Education Chair: I support the Texas Social Studies/History Standards & I Support Gail Lowe

March 17, 2011

Texas House Public Education Chair: I support the Texas Social Studies Standards and I support Gail Lowe. 

Rep. Rob Eissler expressed this to me this morning and wants to make it clear his support for both the new social studies standards and the current chairman of the State Board Of Education, Gail Lowe.  An article that ran yesterday gave the opposite impression and conclusion.

Texas Social Studies Standards Released! What’s in Texas Social Studies Standards? Read the Texas Social Studies Standards Here

June 28, 2010

THE ACTUAL TEXT OF THE TEXAS SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!!   They were released Friday, June 25th.  Every one has been wanting to see the actual words/language themselves, so here it is!

Here are the direct links to the text of the standards as posted online by TEA:

Kindergarten through Grade 5

Grade 6 through Grade 8

High School

Liberty Institute, which worked heavily on this issue and was represented at each SBOE meeting on the topic, issued the following statement:

“Anyone who actually reads the standards will see accurate, common sense content that Texas has adopted,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute.  “Our students now have new tools to lead Texas and our state in the 21st century.”

“People want our students to learn about the founding principles that make this country great,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute.  “Students under these standards will actually be reading and discussing our founding documents and will be way ahead of other students across the country.”

The SBOE adopted numerous recommendations by professors, teachers, and experts (religious freedom language is one example).  However, the SBOE rejected other recommendations made by some professors and/or teachers, such as completely removing Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, George Patton, the Liberty Bell, Mother Teresa, and Jonas Salk.  The SBOE also rejected efforts by some teachers and/or professors to reduce the teaching on Independence Day and Veterans Day.

The final standards also include religious freedom language that allows students to study the actual words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and compare and contrast those words with the phrase “separation of church and state.”  This language was adopted by an 11-3 bipartisan vote.  This language is even supported by a moderate Republican, Bob Craig (who sponsored and proposed this final langauge), and supported by Democrat, Lawrence Allen, and all other Republicans-Don McLeroy, Terri Leo, David Bradley, Cynthia Dunbar, Tincy Miller, Pat Hardy, Gail Lowe, Barbara Cargill, and Ken Mercer.  Mavis Knight had historically inaccurate language on this issue, which was rejected. 

Notable Content of Texas Social Standards:

  • Tejano leaders: Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro, and specific Tejanos who died at the Alamo-Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier
  • Contributions of Founding Fathers: John Hancock, John Jay, John Witherspoon, others.
  • Thomas Jefferson: five specific references, Declaration of Independence referenced throughout.
  • Concepts: American Exceptionalism, Celebrate Freedom Week
  • Capitalism: referenced numerous times.
  • Religious Heritage: impact of religion and Judeo-Christian legal tradition on America.
  • Religious Diversity: Student will learn about Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
  • · Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases: Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Roe v. Wade, Tinker v. Des Moines, Miranda v. Arizona.
  • · Notable/Cultural Leaders Covered: Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, Dolores Huerta, Lorenzo de Zavala, James A. Baker III, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sam Walton, Ronald Reagan, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Harriet Tubman, Todd Beamer, Roy Benavidez, John Olivas, Henry B. Gonzalez, Hector P. Garcia, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr., George Washington Carver, others
  • Groups: LULAC, NAACP, NRA, Moral Majority, Heritage Foundation.

Some are making outrageous statements about the new Texas Social Studies standards. It’s obvious, they either have not read the new standards, or they are intentionally misleading the public.

They claim Thomas Jefferson is not in the standards.

The fact is that Thomas Jefferson is in the Texas Social Studies standards numerous times, including:

  • In Grade 5: “Founding Father and Patriot her(o)…Thomas Jefferson..”.
  • In Grade 8: for “significant individuals that played a role in the American Revolution…..Thomas Jefferson…”
  • In U.S. Government (twice) “the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including…Thomas Jefferson…”.
  • In World History: Students must “explain the political philosophies of individuals such as…Thomas Jefferson…
  • Moreover, the Declaration of Independence, which Thomas Jefferson authored, is referenced at least 25 times throughout the K-12 Social Studies standards.

They claim religious freedom is watered down in the standards.

The fact is religious freedom is taught using language from the First Amendment of the Constitution, the direct source of Religious Freedom language

In U.S. Government: “Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed it free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.”

This standard was proposed by moderate Republican Bob Craig.  This social studies standard was approved by a bipartisan, 11-3 vote.

Religion has very diverse coverage: in Texas social studies, students will learn about Confuscianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism and Christianity.

They claim The State Board of Education members have no teaching experience.

The fact is numerous members of the State Board of Education have teaching experience. Click here for official bios of the SBOE members.

They claim that teachers and professors were kept out of the process.

The fact is the State Board of Education had five public hearings and heard hours of testimony from numerous professors and teachers and many of their suggestions are reflected in the standards. Furthermore, many of the changes suggested by a select group of appointed teachers to a review panel were adopted.

They claim that that the term slavery was taken out of the standards.

The fact is slavery is in the standards.

For the correct context of this misleading information, one section of the standards, before it was changed on Thursday, said this:

“explain reasons for the development of the plantation system, the Atlantic triangular growth of the slave trade, and the spread of slavery; and…”  There were no official objections to this language, by Republicans or Democrats, in January when the initial change was made.

Then, last week, the State Board of Education voted 15-0 to change the phrase “Atlantic Triangular Trade” to “Transatlantic Slave Trade”.

Slavery is covered numerous other times throughout the K-12 course.

They claim there are no references to capitalism.

The fact is capitalism is in every grade of social studies standards starting at grade 2.

“Students identify the role of the U.S. free enterprise system within the parameters of this course and understand that this system may also be referenced as capitalism or the free market system.”

They claim that minorities and women have been diminished or “whitewashed”.

The fact is the following minorities, women, cases and groups are covered by the social studies standards:

Cesar Chavez (2 references), Dolores Huerta, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King (5 references), Jr, Sonia Sotomayor, Barack H. Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Wallace Jefferson, Rosa Parks (2 references), Susan B. Anthony, Lorenzo de Zavala, Booker T. Washington, Henry B. Gonzalez (2 references), Hector P. Garcia (3 refences), Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr.(2 references), Jose Antonio Navarro, Francisco Ruiz, Hillary Clinton, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, W.E. B. Dubois, Irma Rangel, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Ochoa, Harriet Tubman, Roy Benavides, John”Danny” Olivas, Carmen Loma Garza, Vernon J. Baker, Carlos Espalier, George Washington Carver, Crispus Attucks, Wentworth Cheswell, Placido Benavides, William Carney, Philip Bazaar, Enrique Esparza, Bessie Coleman, Lydia Mendoza, Phillis Wheatley, Lulu Belle Madison White, Amado Pena Jr., Scott Joplin, Marcus Garvey, Kadir Nelson, Juan Seguin, Carmen Lomas Garza, Juan Antonio Badillo, Jane Addams, Abigail Adams, many others.

Landmark cases covered:

Brown v. Bd of Education, Sweat v. Painter, Hernandez v. Texas, Edgewood I.S.D. v. Kirby, Mendez v. Westminster, Roe v. Wade

Tejano leaders:

Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Jose Antonio Navarro are covered, including the significant contributions of Tejanos such as Juan N. Seguín, Plácido Benavides, and Jose Francisco Ruiz during the time period of the Texas Revolution, The Republic of Texas, and the annexation of Texas to the United States. Standards also include the following Tejanos who died at the Alamo, Juan Antonio Badillo and Carlos Espalier.


They claim the standards include “positive references” to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America.

The fact is, Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America are simply listed as examples for this high school section:

“describe the causes, key organizations, and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including….”

This section does not make a “positive” or a negative reference to these organizations, it simply lists them as being a part of “conservative resurgence”.

SBOE Announcement!! Gov. Perry Appoints Conservative to SBOE Chair

July 10, 2009

Update: Opposition is in full panic mode:  I don’t like to say “I told you so”, but the usual small group of Austin critics are already unleashing their fury on Gail Lowe, loosely throwing around words like “personal beliefs” and “creationist” (unsubtle code words for their targeted attack on Lowe for her religious beliefs) in their unhinged verbal attack of Lowe.  Even though at least one political news source considers Lowe a “moderate” of conservatives, it doesn’t matter to the Austin extreme left. Our point exactly — it doesn’t matter if its McLeroy, Dunbar, or Lowe, or any other SBOE conservative member, these political and religious attacks will continue, pretending to be something else.

The reason for the appointment is because 11 (all Democrats) of the 31 Texas Senators blocked the confirmation of Don McLeroy, citing to the New York Times for reasons to oppose McLeroy.  So Gov. Perry was forced to appoint another sitting SBOE member, to be chairman.  19 (all Republican) of the 31 (a majority) Texas Senators voted for McLeroy.

Gov. Perry Appoints Gail Lowe to State Board Chair

Free Market Foundation Applauds Conservative Appointment

AUSTIN, Texas – Today, Gov. Perry selected Gail Lowe to be the next chair of the State Board of Education (SBOE).  Gail Lowe, of Lampasas, Texas, is one of the more conservative SBOE members, and was first elected to the SBOE in 2002.  She previously served on the Lampasas Independent School District Board of Trustees and has volunteered countless hours in the classroom.  Following the Governor’s announcement, Free Market Foundation released the following statement:

“We applaud Gov. Perry for making an excellent choice for our new State Board of Education chair,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of Free Market Foundation.  “Gail Lowe is a strong conservative, representing Texas values, and has long been a leader in the field of education, in her local community, and in various roles as a State Board of Education member.” 

“Our state and our schoolchildren will benefit greatly from Mrs. Lowe’s service, care, and commitment as the new State Board of Education Chair,” said Jonathan Saenz, legislative director at Free Market Foundation.  “We hope that the usual critics will rise above their religious discrimination of the past and allow Mrs. Lowe to focus on the important education issues of our state,” said Jonathan Saenz, legislative director at Free Market Foundation.  

Free Market Foundation has worked on numerous issues before the State Board of Education, including recent testimony and key analysis on the science curriculum standards and Bible curriculum standards for Texas public schools.

For more information or for interviews, please call or email Jennifer Grisham, director of media, at (972) 423-8889 extension 102,, or (512) 879-7995.


You recall, that Don McLeroy’s confirmation as SBOE chairman was rejected earlier this year by 11 (all Democrats) of 31 Texas Senators.  Even though 19 of 31 Texas Senators voted “FOR” McLeroy, he needed a 2/3rds majority to be confirmed.  So 11 Texas Senators were able to block the will of the majority. 

The New York Times was cited as a source for basis of criticism on McLeroy, which lead some Senators to vote against him.  Some Texas Senators care more about what the N.Y. Times thinks, and less about Texans.

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