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Come help the Texas Freedom Network celebrate 13 years of working for mainstream values like religious freedom, individual liberties and strong public schools. TFN’s 13th Anniversary Gala kicks off at 7:30 this Saturday (October 4) at La Zona Rosa in downtown Austin. In addition to Austin’s best silent auction and delicious food, you can enjoy great tunes from the amazing Ruby Jane Smith and rocker Ian McLagan and the Bump Band.

This is TFN’s biggest fundraiser of the year — a time when progressives of all stripes can come together to celebrate the mainstream values we all share. Click here to get tickets and learn more about the celebration.

Catch a preview of Ruby Jane’s wonderful talents on KUT’s Aielli Unleashed, hosted by John Aielli. You won’t want to miss her and Ian McLagan on Saturday!… Read More

On Tuesday a remarkable coalition of scientists from Texas colleges, university and private industry announced their support for new public school science standards that would provide a 21st-century education for Texas students. Media coverage of the 21st-Century Science Coalition press conference at the Texas Education Agency in Austin was heavy. The press conference came the week after work groups made up of teachers and academics appointed by theTexas State Board of Education proposed new science standards that support teaching about evolution and oppose teaching about “supernatural” explanations in public schools.

Coalition spokespeople announced that more than 800 Texas scientists had already signed a pro-science petition at A sampling of comments from the press conference:

From the San Antonio Express-News

“We are here to support and promote strong, clear, modern science education in Texas schools,” said David Hillis, professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin. “Texas public schools should be preparing our kids to succeed in the 21st century, not promoting political and ideological agendas that are hostile to a sound science education.”

“We should teach students 21st-century science — not some watered-down version with… Read More

At yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting, the schedule for revising public school science curriculum standards became clearer. As we reported last week, work groups made up of teachers and academics have proposed new standards that call for teaching students sound science on evolution. The anti-science faction that controls the state board, however, wants public school science classes to challenge evolution — a back door to promoting alternatives like “intelligent design”/creationism. The board’s chairman, Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, has even called for redefining science to include the study of supernatural explantions.

The state board will discuss the work groups’ proposed standards at a meeting in November. The board is likely to hold a public hearing at that time as well. Then the board will take a preliminary vote (“first reading”) on the standards in January, likely after another public hearing at the same meeting. The board has a tentative deadline of March 2009 for adoptiong the standards. Publishers will use those standards to craft new science textbooks that will be up for adoption before the board in 2011.

Want to support strong science standards that prepare students to succeed in college and the jobs of the… Read More

by TFN

Saturday afternoon, a Chinese astronaut orbiting Earth made his nation’s first spacewalk. Chinese stopped to watch television screens broadcast this new leap forward in their nation’s scientific advancement. A report two years ago revealed that, while China (as Education Week reported) “suffers from a large disparity between the quality of education in relatively advanced urban areas and poorer, rural communities, and from a system that encourages relatively rigid teaching methods,” the United States still could learn from the Chinese when it comes to science education:

China uses a dramatically different approach to building students’ mathematical and science skills from the United States’, with strong national standards, a structured progression from easy to difficult subject matter, and extensive teacher training serving as core tenets of the communist country’s educational system.

Critics will, of course, focus on the line noting that China is a communist country (which it is, nominally if not in reality). But they will miss the point. Other developing nations, such as India, as well as the rest of the developed world have also been focusing heavily on giving their students a sound science education.

Back in the United States, creationists who control the Texas… Read More

by TFN

Not everyone is happy with the draft of curriculum standards submitted by Texas science teachers yesterday. Jonathan Saenz of the Free Market Foundation is not buying the crazy idea these teachers are pushing — that state science standards should focus on, you know, science and not a bunch of phony “weaknesses” of evolution. Saenz tells the Dallas Morning News it is

“outrageous that these educrats have expelled the truth from state standards that have been in place for over 20 years.”


Psst… Jonathan, the recommendation came from classroom science teachers. If there are any “educrats” in Austin trying to muck with science standards, it’s your creationist buddies on the State Board of Education

(And by the way, shouldn’t you be in Alaska with the rest of the Free Market staff trying to block the investigation of Sarah Palin? I guess someone has to stay behind to sue school districts.)… Read More

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The Week in Quotes (April 15 – 21)

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