Victory in Texas!
In a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution, Texas today moved to the head of the class by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence” and specifically requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.
"Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can't be questioned," said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute.
And Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, issued the following press release conceding defeat --
The Texas Freedom Network has released the following statement on the final adoption of science curriculum standards by the State Board of Education today:FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2009
TFN President Kathy Miller: Texas State Board of Education Adopts Flawed Science Standards
The word “weaknesses” no longer appears in the science standards. But the document still has plenty of potential footholds for creationist attacks on evolution to make their way into Texas classrooms.
Through a series of contradictory and convoluted amendments, the board crafted a road map that creationists will use to pressure publishers into putting phony arguments attacking established science into textbooks.
"Stupid Steven" Schafersman tried to downplay the damage:
What is the bottom line? Did we win or lose? Neither. We got rid of the worst language, but a great deal of qualifying language remains. I am not going to claim either victory or defeat. I realize that Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute will declare complete, unqualified victory, but it is not that for them. Neither is it for us. The standards adopted were generally good, but there are several that are flawed, fortunately most in minor ways that textbook authors and publishers can deal with. . . . .
This will become apparent in 2011 when the Biology textbooks come up for adoption. Rule 3A and several other poor amendments in Biology--all the contribution of SBOE members who know nothing about science but a lot about pseudoscience--will be used to attack Biology textbooks . . .
The policy (science standards) that resulted are not the best they could be. They are acceptable but could have been pseudoscience- and Creationism influence-free. However, I can also say the standards could be much worse. The votes were so close, and several members switched their votes back and forth several times, sometimes voting with the antiscience radical right wing members and sometimes with the pro-science members, that anything could have happened. I suppose I should be grateful the results are not worse.
Evolution News & Views and the Texas Freedom Network blog both have several articles about the newly-adopted Texas science standards.
This is considered to be national news -- even USA Today has an article about it. The USA Today article has some links to articles in local newspapers.
Also, as I have pointed out many times, It is a myth that the Texas board of education controls textbook content! . No school system in the world -- including Texas -- is required to use Texas-approved textbooks! Local school districts in Texas can use state-unapproved textbooks if the districts pay the full cost, which isn't much. If a biology textbook costs, say, $100 and is used for five years, that comes to a cost of only about $20 per student per year. A popular biology textbook, "Biology" by Ken Miller and Joe Levine, already comes in regular, California, and Texas editions. So in a sense, the fight over the new Texas science standards was a tempest in a teapot.
Labels: Texas controversy (new #2)