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

As we have reported, the State Board of Education voted last month to adopt all of the high school biology textbooks up for adoption in Texas. The adoption of one of those textbooks, from Pearson Education, was made contingent on a final examination of factual errors made by Ide Trotter, a creationist who had served on that textbook’s official review panel. (Pearson’s textbook is a market leader.) We now hear that the expert panel assigned to review the Pearson textbook appears pretty solid — all respected scholars and supporters of evolutionary science.

The three panelists include Ron Wetherington, an evolutionary anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Arturo De Lozanne, an associate professor in molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of Texas at Austin; and Vincent Cassone, chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Kentucky (and former department chair at Texas A&M).

Wetherington, who served as an official reviewer of several non-Pearson textbooks, has already analyzed and rejected Trotter’s complaints about the Pearson material. We published Wetherington’s analysis in September. De Lozanne testified during a public hearing in favor of adopting the textbooks and has called on the… Read More

Last week's State Board of Education (SBOE) vote to adopt new science textbooks for Texas public schools represented an important victory for science education. But what you have been reading in the news media doesn't tell the whole story about what was happening behind the scenes in this battle -- including the effort to derail the adoption of one of the leading high school biology textbooks in the country. Following is the story of how science education came under attack in Texas and how it won in the end. Read More

The State Board of Education just voted to adopt all of the high school biology and environmental science textbooks without watering down instruction on evolution and climate change. We just sent out the following press release:

TEXAS TEXTBOOK ADOPTION IS A MAJOR VICTORY FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION

No Compromise on Science Instruction about Evolution or Climate Change in Textbooks, TFN President Says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 22, 2013

Despite last-minute efforts by some board members and political activists to derail the adoption of two textbooks, the State Board of Education today voted to adopt all of the proposed instructional materials up for adoption for high school biology and environmental science. Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks, said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of today’s vote, which is a huge win for science education and public school students in Texas,” Miller said. “Four years ago this board passed controversial curriculum standards some members hoped would force textbooks to water down instruction on evolution and climate change. But that strategy has failed because publishers refused to… Read More