Search results for cynthia dunbar

A link to the audio of today’s State Board of Education meeting is here.

9:00 – Today the Texas State Board of Education finally decides what the next generation of Texas students will learn about evolution in their public school science classrooms. The morning preliminaries are ceremonial, but we expect debate on the science curriculum standards to begin within the hour. Stay tuned.

9:48 – The science debate is beginning.

9:50 – Cynthia Dunbar moves to amend the standards to ask students to study evidence “supportive and nonsupportive” of scientific theories. This is just another way of saying “strengths and weaknesses.”

10:05 – The board is on break as members discuss the amendment with each other.

10:08 – They’re back. Dunbar brings up the old nonsense that she’s protecting “academic freedom” and the state from being sued. She argues that if folks think “strengths and weaknesses” is “tainted,” then “supportive and nonsupportive evidence” should be fine. She misses the point. There is NO scientific evidence nonsupportive of evolution. Evolution is settled science for all but ideologues who oppose it for religious reasons.

10:14 – Bob Craig offers an amendment to the amendment, striking “supportive and nonsupportive”… Read More

Note: A link for audio from the state board debate and vote is available here.

9:17 – The Texas State Board of Education meeting has begun, and we have some encouraging news. Dallas member Mavis Knight, a strong supporter of sound science standards, is participating by videoconference. It appears that Mary Helen Berlanga from Corpus Christi is not present, but no motion can pass on a 7-7 tie. So if all votes hold from January, the pro-science board members should be able to block bad amendments today. (We said “if” and “should be able.”)

The board has not yet reached the agenda item on science standards.

9:24 – A representative of the right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation is talking to the board about early revisions of the social studies standards, which the board will take up after science. We’re waiting for a copy of the document the representative is presenting to the board.

9:40 – Board member Terri Leo decries any suggestion to leave out of the social studies standards important historical figures to make room for “multicultural” issues and personalities. “I’ve never heard of half of these people,”  Leo says of one proposed list of… Read More

2:00 – We thought you might want to know a bit about the atmosphere here. The Texas Education Agency lobby was packed with science supporters when we arrived this morning. The litigators from anti-evolution Free Market Foundation Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family had already begun a press conference promoting the “strengths and weaknesses” propaganda. Following that, TFN started its press conference with educators and scientists. We’ve rarely seen so many cameras for a press event at TEA, although it appears that some of the cameras (including ours) were from non-news organizations.

Both press conferences were disrupted by observers. In our case, one observer shouted “my grandfather wasn’t an ape,” or something to that effect. Another chose to pray loudly in an effort to drown out what our speakers were saying. An argument also marred the Focus on the Family press conference.

It’s standing-room-only in the board room itself. In fact, many people are on the floor on the sides and in the back of the room. Numerous reporters — mostly television — are covering the hearing. A number of educators and scientists are in attendance, but it’s clear that creationist organizations — such as Focus and Probe… Read More

This is the clearest case yet of anti-evolution extremists putting political partisanship ahead of giving Texas kids a sound science education. Now the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) is pressuring Republicans on the Texas State Board of Education to require that public school students learn phony "weaknesses" of evolution in their science classrooms. The committee passed a resolution on March 7 insisting that Republican board members bow to the Texas GOP platform on the issue. The platform, passed at the GOP state convention in June 2008, includes the following plank:…… Read More

Texas State Board of Education members are beginning debate on new public school science curriculum standards. The board will likely take a preliminary vote (or votes) today on whether to amend the draft standards submitted by teacher writing teams and then post them for public comment. A formal vote on posting the standards comes on Friday, but we’ll get the main debate today. The final vote to adopt the standards will come in March. We’ll keep you updated over the next couple of hours on the action here.

1:17 p.m. – Board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, moves to put “strengths and weaknesses” back in the standards. She argues that “strengths and weaknesses” hasn’t been challenged in two decades (we assume she means in the courts).

1:21 – Board member Mavis Knight, D-Dallas, opposes the motion: “Longevity is not an indication of the quality of something.”

1:23 – Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, also speaks in opposition, arguing that the board should approve what the writings teams — made up of teachers and academics appointed by the board — have drafted over the past year. “Some (here) think they know better how to teach than the teachers.” “‘Strengths and weaknesses’ has… Read More