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.

Dewhurst:

“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.”

Patrick:

“Our students …… Read More

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have been fantastic partners with the Texas Freedom Network in defending teaching about evolution and climate change in Texas public schools. Now NCSE is offering an online workshop on December 18 to train people around the country how to lobby their elected officials in support of science education. From the workshop’s registration page:

Bills attacking evolution education and climate change education were filed in almost a dozen state legislatures last year, and a new legislative season starting in January will bring many more.

Stopping bad legislation and encouraging policymakers to support strong science education requires the active involvement of local citizens. When lawmakers hear from their own constituents—the voters who put them in office, the neighbors and colleagues whose good opinion they value—bad bills can be stopped and science education can be made stronger. When local citizens are silent, or can be shouted down by a vocal opposition, dangerous laws are enacted.

NCSE’s one-hour online training session — which will feature a panel of state lobbying experts — will help you learn the nuts and bolts of effective lobbying on behalf of science education.

The training is from… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

.@iamjohnoliver used the clip in @LastWeekTonight for a segment on how the history of race in America is taught in schools. (2/2) #txed youtu.be/hsxukOPEdgg