Anti-science zealots can be pretty (unintentionally) comical. The Austin American-Statesman published an article today (behind a paywall) about Responsive Education Solutions charter schools teaching junk science that attacks evolution and promotes creationism as a valid scientific alternative. The article prompted one right-wing activist to claim in an online screed this morning:
“Libs bullying to force evolution into Texas schools”
Liberals are “forcing” evolution into Texas schools? Golly, next thing you know some folks will want Texas students to learn about gravity and how Earth revolves around the sun instead of the other way around.
Actually, the state’s curriculum standards — adopted by those crazy liberals on the State Board of Education — require that students learn about evolution in their science classrooms.
As for the “bullying” claim, she’s upset when groups like the Texas Freedom Network point out that teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution in public schools science classrooms is essentially lying to students. It’s also unconstitutional, meaning those public schools and the taxpayers who support them are at risk of lawsuits.
In fact, today’s Statesman article notes that our friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State… Read More
The CEO of Texas-based Responsive Education Solutions has responded to an in-depth article in Slate detailing how the charter operator’s public schools teach junk science and political propaganda as factual. Frankly, the CEO’s response is just as troubling as the original allegations about the schools’ troubling curriculum.
Responsive Ed’s CEO Chuck Cook wrote an extensive reply to a post about the Slate article on the Arkansas Times website. You can read Cook’s full response in the comments section here. The Arkansas Times writer discusses Cook’s response here. (The original Slate article by Zack Kopplin is here, and a TFN press release about the revelations in that article is here.)
Cook begins his defense by arguing that Responsive Ed’s instructional materials on evolution are simply conforming to the Texas curriculum standards by “examining all sides of scientific evidence” of scientific explanations. He then proceeds to post an extended except from those classroom materials — an excerpt that portrays creationism as a valid scientific concept. This is part of his excerpt from the classroom materials students use:
In recent years, these two schools of thought —creationism and evolution—have been at conflict in schools, universities, and scientific circles.… Read More
Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education, wondered how the creationist chairwoman of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) came to appoint a real scientist and evolution defender to a key textbook review panel. As we reported on Tuesday, that panel unanimously rejected creationist claims that a leading high school biology textbook from Pearson Education was filled with “factual errors.” The panel’s decision removed the last obstacle to that textbook’s official approval by the SBOE for use in Texas public schools. To learn more about what happened, Josh reached out to Vincent Cassone, the chair of the University of Kentucky Biology Department appointed by creationist Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, to serve on the panel. Here is Josh’s report:
With the news that an expert review panel unanimously approved Pearson’s Biology textbook and rejected creationist criticisms of it, there was one last nagging mystery in the Texas textbook saga. I expected the book to be approved as written, having said it would take five minutes for reviewers to see that the complaints against the book were bogus. And I understood why Arturo De Lozanne and Ron Wetherington, both Texas scientists long active in… Read More
This year’s sweeping win for science education in Texas now appears to be complete.
Multiple sources tell us that a special expert panel has given unanimous approval to the Pearson biology textbook whose adoption by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) last month had been tripped up by allegations that it contained “factual errors.”
A creationist on the panel that reviewed the Pearson textbook last summer had claimed that there were nearly two dozen “factual errors” in the product. Pearson and the textbook’s authors flatly rejected those claims in a detailed rebuttal and refused to make changes. Pearson’s textbook is widely used throughout the nation’s high schools.
At its November meeting, the SBOE voted to adopt all of the high school biology textbooks proposed for Texas public schools, including the Pearson product. However, SBOE members made the Pearson textbook adoption contingent on a final review of the alleged “errors” by a panel of experts.
SBOE member Sue Melton, R-Waco, appointed University of Texas biologist Arturo De Lozanne and SBOE member Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso, chose SMU anthropologist Ron Wetherington to serve on the expert review panel. SBOE Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, appointed… Read More
During a debate in Waco on Thursday, candidates for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor said they support teaching biblical creationism in the state’s public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism in public school science classrooms violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and two of his Republican primary opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick, called for teaching creationism in public schools. The Dallas Morning News reports that Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson also voiced his support, but the Texas Tribune reports Patterson didn’t specifically call for teaching creationism in public schools. However, the Tribune says Patterson insisted that the Constitution doesn’t protect separation of church and state.
The Texas Tribune directly quotes three of the candidates on the issues of creationism and religion in public schools.
“I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this. That’s why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution.”
“Our students …… Read More