Creationists Are (Once Again) Trying to Sabotage Texas Science Curriculum Standards

by Dan Quinn

In what seems like a never-ending battle in Texas, creationists are once again trying to make a mess of the science curriculum standards for the state’s public schools. And once again, the Texas Freedom Network is organizing science education advocates to fight back.

Wednesday evening the State Board of Education heard recommendations from its own high school biology curriculum review team — a panel made up of educators and scientists. That review team is calling for a number of changes to the state’s bloated science standards, including the removal of several anti-evolution arguments placed in the standards in 2009.

But evolution deniers on and off the board are challenging these recommendations and demanding that the junk science standards stay in the final document.

We have been down this road before, watching politicians undermine the education of Texas kids by overruling the recommendations of teachers, scholars and curriculum specialists.

So TFN immediately raised the alarm last night by blasting out the press release below. But we’re going to need help to defend science education in Texas. Are you with us? If so, sign the #StandUp4Science petition and let’s get to work.

Here’s the press release we sent out Wednesday night:

TFN PRESIDENT: EVOLUTION DENIERS ONCE AGAIN MAKING A MESS OF SCIENCE STANDARDS

Miller Calls on State Board of Education to Accept Recommendations of Teachers and Scientists Tasked with Revising the Standards

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2016

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today called on State Board of Education (SBOE) members not to let their obsession with attacking evolution once again get in the way of teachers who are working to improve the state’s science curriculum standards.

“Seven years ago the state board overruled teachers and scholars who begged them not to politicize the science standards by adding discredited arguments attacking evolution,” Miller said. “Now we’re seeing history repeat itself. This obsession with attacking evolution is getting in the way of ensuring that Texas kids get a 21st-century education.”

Miller’s comments came as SBOE members discussed a proposed revision of the standards at its meeting this evening.

In 2009 the state board radically revised proposed new science standards drafted by teachers and scientists. Among the standards board members added were several that creationists hoped would undermine the teaching of evolution in the high school biology course. They did so over the strong objections of numerous scientists and educators who pointed out that the anti-evolution standards made no sense and were based on junk science.

This year the state board asked teachers and scientists to simplify, or streamline, the standards so that schools could cover them more effectively. The curriculum teams began the streamlining process this summer and reported on their progress at today’s meeting.

The biology team is recommending the removal or revision of about a dozen standards. But some state board members complained because some of those revisions remove the anti-evolution, junk science standards.

The board is likely to hold public hearings on the proposed revisions to the standards in early 2017. Board members can make changes to the draft recommendations before taking a final vote on the new standards currently scheduled for April.

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