science education

Texas board chair limits time for public comment re textbooks

Spread the love

At “Hairballs,” a Houston Press blog, Richard Connelly tells us that in the “Texas Science Textbook Wars: Ed Board Slashes Time for Public Comment” (Jul. 19 2011). Apparently, the new chair can only stand to hear from the Darwin lobby for about four hours.

“Unfortunately, hopes that the new chair might focus the board on ensuring that Texas kids get a sound education have almost evaporated just two weeks after her appointment by Governor Perry,” TFN’s [Darwin lobby’s] Kathy Miller says. “Ms. Cargill appears to be just as determined as her two predecessors to promote divisive ‘culture war’ battles on the state board and in our children’s classrooms. And her decision to dramatically limit public testimony this week demonstrates a stunning disregard for the concerns of parents and other citizens who want students to get a science education that truly prepares them to succeed in college and a 21st-century economy.”

Actual effect? Sources say it should mean that one major lobby is chosen to represent each key view, conserving everyone’s time.

One problem with providing unlimited time is that every pressure group head must hit the state house to prove he deserves his salary when, in fact, his position is identical to the sixteen pressure groups before and the eighteen after his. Perhaps Texans just don’t want to pay for that stuff any more.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

3 Replies to “Texas board chair limits time for public comment re textbooks

  1. 1
    DrREC says:

    There are “six true conservative Christians on the board,” she told the Eagle Forum audience. “So now we need to fight for two votes” for a majority.

    I didn’t know being “conservative Christian” was a necessary prerequisite for understanding science.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Yes, she seems to have been elected with an agenda. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Eugene Koonin notwithstanding, the case for Darwin-only in the public schools can be made by a knowledgeable person in an hour, leaving plenty of time for other views, followed by a forum.

    View here is: Her opponents are mistaken in publicizing – as an instance of wrongdoing – her desire to reduce the paid time spent listening to grandstanding pressure groups.

    That is NOT AT ALL the same thing as listening to the public. In fact, it eventually becomes an enemy of representative government. The pressure groups have all the time in the world to advocate stuff that other people don’t even know about – because they work for a living or are looking for work. Then those people wake up to discover that they are legally required to buy a licence for a high-rise cat who never leaves the apartment, and send their kid to a tax-funded Islamic school. Both happened in Toronto. Who asked for it? Lots of pressure groups.

    Solution: Cut the paid time listening to pressure groups.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    If — in an era where laptops, vid cams, YouTube, PowerPoint or Impress and drawing packages are ubiquitous — you and a panel cannot make a reasonable overview of your case, receive and respond to rebuttals or interventions, and answer key questions from stakeholders, members of the public and elected representatives in four hours, with provision for reference documents [and with a whole Internet there for the details and onward links to your heart’s content], something is wrong with the case.

    Cf my own draft try at an independent origins science course, summary and intro, here. (There is even a scope-sequence outline here, aka a syllabus; and BTW, I have had some experience in designing and developing courses and programmes of study.)

    Maybe the scope-seq intro is worth a look here, as a problem identification and suggested solution exercise:

    INTRODUCTION/MOTIVATION: The scientific study of origins helps us probe the roots of our existence. So, it is a key component of how we seek to understand ourselves and our place in our world, based on the evidence, which gives it great importance. Unfortunately, some educators, public policy advocates and scientists have recently undercut this search by mistakenly trying to re-define science as a search for “natural causes,” which imposes materialistic conclusions before the empirical facts can speak. Such methodological naturalism also effectively establishes materialistic secular humanism as a de facto, functional equivalent to a religion backed by state power on law, education and many other aspects of our public square. However, we can instead allow the evidence to speak for itself, creating a more objective approach. For instance, reliably, functionally specified complex information comes from intelligence. And, we see many such signs in cases such as: (i) the origin of cell-based life that is based on information-rich macromolecules, or (ii) of the origin of body-plan level biodiversity, or (iii) that of a cosmos that seems to be fine-tuned in many ways to accommodate such life. A critically aware objective approach to origins science should therefore teach students to consider the issues and alternatives before drawing conclusions. Thus, we need a fresh, independent approach to origins science and science education.

    Notice onward details and yet onward further info.

    So, the attempt to name-call and poison the atmosphere is plainly uncivil.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I actually think the time has come to toss over the lot, and produce our own independent survey courses, that can be gone through in a convention centre as a one week or extended weekend seminar, after an initial online prep period. Case study or field study exercises can be used for evaluation. And, I am sure there is a significant number of solid colleges that could host or sponsor such a course and programme. I guarantee you, after that sort of course, the sort of indoctrination in the name of sci edu that now commonly goes on would collapse of its own weight, especially once the a priori imposition is exposed and it is shown that the definition of science being offered is warped and dishonest — yes, Ms Scott and Ms Forrest, this means YOU.

Leave a Reply