From Kerry Grens at the Scientist:
Last week, the Texas Board of Education approved a draft of revisions made to its science education standards. While board members approved nearly all of the changes suggested by a committee of educators, they also voted to partially replace cuts made to controversial language regarding the teaching of evolution.
“What they did . . . was accept two of our recommendations [to change evolution teaching standards], but added some language that reintroduced the creationist open-door policy,” Ron Wetherington, a committee member and professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told The Scientist. “The committee of school teachers on which I served is going to be upset about this.”
The board members and two committee members who supported the additional requirements maintain that the language does not encourage creationist teachings in the classroom. “It’s an improvement” over existing standards, said board member Marty Rowley (R) from Amarillo. “We’re looking strictly at scientific explanations now. It’s clear from that language that any concerns people might have about people introducing creationism in classrooms would be unfounded.” More.
Actually, if one reads the U.S. First Amendment in the commonly accepted way, “introducing creationism in classrooms” would be unconstitutional, never mind “unfounded.”
What can’t be unconstitutional is to point out the reasons why a growing number of scientists have issues with conventional textbook Darwinism. The sooner textbooks reflect more up-to-date thinking, the better value they’ll provide for students who want to major in science. On the other hand, the charter schools movement is growing, so there may be an exit if profitable mediocrity wins out in the current public system.*
* Profitable mediocrity? Textbooks are a huge, lucrative business because parents are compelled to send kids, kids are compelled to sit there, and ratepayers are compelled to pay. Then in the United States, there is always the additional continent-scale deadweight of the federal government parked on top. Lots of money for lobbyists and jobbers but bad service for the public so education rankings remain low.
See also: Don McLeroy, former state board chairman: By all means teach evolution in Texas schools: “ Since they are required, our children get the opportunity to actually see if these explanations are compelling or not. This is a big deal. ”
In March for Science, what hats will Darwin’s fans wear? It’s astonishing that someone can actually think, in the age of massive peer review scandals, rethinking evolution, and assorted other cataclysms, that all the problems are caused by “the anti-science movement.”
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