That’s the headline for a compelling column from the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg yesterday. Falkenberg clearly lays out the threats to our children’s education and to the state’s economy posed by the creationist faction that controls the Texas State Board of Education.
Falkenberg explains how far-right board members are politicizing education by trying to “inject unfounded doubts about” evolution in the public school science curriculum. Those doubts come in the form of fabricated “weaknesses” and “limitations” to the theory of evolution. None of those so-called “weaknesses” has support in mainstream science. In fact, she writes, the theory is “as basic to the teaching of science as the U.S. Constitution is to the teaching of American government.” Falkenberg notes how biology teachers feel so intimidated by the attacks on science from evolution deniers that they water down discussions of evolution in their classrooms. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs look to other states with stronger science education to locate their biotechnology firms.
Texas may not yet be Kansas, which drew nationwide ridicule when it adopted science standards that challenged evolution.
But if the “weakness” language stays, there’s a strong possibility that the board’s conservative members on the partisan, elected board will try in a couple of years to insert it into textbooks. And, this time, they might have the votes to win.
True scientific debate is healthy. So are questions. But injecting doubt in curriculum for the sake of ideological agenda will harm our students and our state.