We have now had our first look at changes publishers have submitted in response to objections — many of them attacks on evolution and climate change science — raised by official state review teams evaluating new science textbooks for Texas. And we have very encouraging news:
All 14 publishers are refusing to water down or compromise instruction on evolution and climate change in their proposed new high school biology textbooks.
These publishers deserve our thanks for standing up to pressure from right-wing politicians and activists working to corrupt the science in our children’s textbooks.
But this battle isn’t over yet. The State Board of Education still must vote to adopt these new textbooks and other instructional materials, which will be classrooms for up to a decade. In past years, ideologues on the state board have refused to adopt textbooks simply because they have political objections to factual content. So in the weeks leading up to the state board’s final vote on November 22, it’s important that we keep fighting to prevent right-wing politicians from putting their personal agendas ahead of the education of… Read More
“The dietician actually has a degree in food science technology, and they have to take all kinds of science courses, I know, at colleges. And then the person you’re referring to is the retired businessman specializing in finance was the gentleman with the doctorate from Princeton in chemical engineering, so he’s certainly qualified. I’m looking at this list, and I’d be happy to show it to anybody that wants to look. Our biology panels, and there were three panels, because we did have a lot of interest. And I want to know, where were the teachers when we put out the call all over the state? I know they were busy teaching, but a lot of the reviews were done this summer. So please, please, in the future, get the word out to your contacts because we needed more help, actually.”
That’s Barbara Cargill, the Republican chairwoman of the Texas State Board of Education, responding to critics who say the official state review panels for new high school biology textbooks this year were stacked with unqualified ideologues who reject evolution.
The claim that a dietician with a degree in food science technology… Read More
Ryan Valentine, Texas Freedom Network’s deputy director, spoke on MSNBC today about our work defending science in this year’s textbook adoption at the State Board of Education. Check it out and see how Ryan puts to lie claims by anti-evolution activists that they just want students to be able to “ask questions”:
The Texas Freedom Network’s defense of sound science education was featured this weekend in a New York Times piece about the State Board of Education’s adoption of new biology textbooks — and, no surprise, anti-science pressure groups are hopping mad about it.
Check out this rant from the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based organization that promotes the anti-evolution nonsense called “intelligent design” (essentially creationism dressed up in a lab coat):
Regardless of whether one thinks there is a genuine debate in the scientific community over Darwinian theory, there most definitely is a political and educational debate in Texas over how evolution should be covered in science textbooks. If the Times still wants to be considered an impartial news source, its reporters ought to fairly represent the different sides of that public debate, not suppress the viewpoints they disagree with.
In the first place, contrary to the Discovery Institute’s suggestion, the debate over the teaching of evolution is political, not educational. An educational debate would focus on which details about evolution students should master so that they can understand what mainstream science says. In contrast, the debate right now is largely over whether anti-science politicians and other fanatics should… Read More
The evolution wars aren’t just a Texas phenomenon. On Thursday a group called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a federal lawsuit to block Kansas from using multistate curriculum standards that treat evolution as established, mainstream science. From an Associated Press article:
The lawsuit argues that the new standards will cause Kansas public schools to promote a “non-theistic religious worldview” by allowing only “materialistic” or “atheistic” explanations to scientific questions, particularly about the origins of life and the universe. The suit further argues that state would be “indoctrinating” impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s protections for religious freedom.
John Calvert, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, worries that indoctrination of students will begin in kindergarten:
“By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution. By the time you’re in middle school, you’re a Darwinist.”
Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, calls the lawsuit “silly”:
“They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion.”