Moving Forward on Curriculum Standards

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 21st century? Click here to Stand Up for Science with the Texas Freedom Network!

The board is also taking applications this fall for teachers and academics who want to serve on work groups revising public school social studies standards. The board will take up those standards in 2009. Past board debates over social studies textbooks for Texas public schools have been heated. Social conservatives often try to censor textbooks on issues such as coverage of slavery in American history, Islam (and other religions other than Christianity) and even the age of the earth (as described in geography textbooks). You can learn more about textbook censorship in Texas here.