4:30 – With the end of the public hearing on proposed new science instructional materials, the State Board of Education is now starting debate over whether to adopt the materials recommended by the Texas education commissioner. In past adoptions, the state board has taken a preliminary vote at the end of this initial debate. The final, formal vote on which materials to put on the official adoption list is scheduled for Friday.

We’re also live-tweeting at #sboe. For anyone who wants to watch the proceedings, the meeting is being live-streamed here. For a primer on what’s at stake today and tomorrow, you can view an archive of TFN Insider posts on the science debate by clicking here.

4:37 – The board will consider the proposed instructional materials by grade level, beginning with Grade 5. Under consideration are science materials for Grades 5-8 and materials for Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Integrated Physics and Chemistry at the high school level.

4:41 – The board is considering a motion that would require publishers to make corrections to errors identified by the Texas Education Agency’s instructional review teams in June. This motion would apply to all materials, for Grades 5-8 and high… Read More

TFN has taken up its usual post in the board hearing room at the State Board of Education, where we are bringing you up-to-the-minute action from today's one and only hearing on proposed new science instructional materials. (We're also live-tweeting at #sboe.) For anyone who wants to watch the proceedings, the meeting is being live-streamed here. For a primer on what's at stake today and tomorrow, you can view an archive of TFN Insider posts on the science debate by clicking here. 1:00 p.m. - The SBOE is back from lunch, and the public hearing on proposed science instructional materials is about to begin. 1:10 - The board plans to limit testimony today to four hours, with each speaker permitted two minutes for his or her statement. In the past we've seen time for a speaker extended if board members have questions. 1:14 - Clare Wuellner of Austin kicks off testimony by calling on state board members to adopt instructional materials based on sound science. 1:16 - Testifier Tom Davis asks of anti-evolution board members: "Whose story of creation are you going to use?" 1:18 - Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna asks whether Davis can identify anywhere in the proposed instructional materials and curriculum standards where creationism is mentioned. Board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, offers a $500 reward to anyone who can identify where creationism, Jesus or religion is mentioned. Both are being terribly disingenuous. The arguments both have made against evolution come from religion-based "intelligent design"/creationism. And that's true whether the words "intelligent design"/creationism even show up in the text. 1:25 - And how disingenuous are Bradley and Mercer being, by the way? Here's a passage from science instructional materials submitted by New Mexico-based International Databases for adoption by the state board: "Since such materialistic, self organization scenarios now have a history of scientific insufficiency for explaining the Origin of Life on Earth, the Null hypothesis (default) stands. This allows for the testing of the legitimate scientific hypothesis……Life on Earth is the result of intelligent causes." You can make out your check to "Texas Freedom Network," Mr. Mercer. Read More

TFN has taken up its usual post in the board hearing room at the State Board of Education, where we will be bringing you up-to-the-minute action from today’s one and only hearing on proposed new science instructional materials. (We’re also live-tweeting at #sboe.) For anyone who wants to watch the proceedings, the meeting will be live-streamed here. The board is scheduled to convene at 10:00, and public testimony on science is #4 on the agenda.

For a primer on what’s at stake today, you can view an archive of TFN Insider posts on the science debate by clicking here.

10:08 – New board chairwoman Cargill gavels the meeting to order and makes a personal privilege speech promising to lead the board with fairness and integrity. The chair already has some fences to mend with her fellow board members after she was captured on video two weeks ago telling the Texas Eagle Forum that there are only six “true conservative Christians” on the board, comments that offended some on the board.

10:10 – Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott makes some comments to the board about how decisions made in the… Read More

9:43 - The Texas State Board of Education is set today to take a final vote on proposed new social studies curriculum standards for public schools. The board first has to finish its debate over proposed amendments to the standards. We expect that debate will resume later this morning. We expect one of the key debates today will be over what students learn about separation of church and state. Stay tuned. 11:10 - The board has resumed debate on the standards, taking up the high school world history standards first. 11:11 - Pat Hardy wants to change a world history standard dealing with the period 1450-1750, added in March, that would have students study "pro-free market factors that contributed to Europe's Commercial Revolution." Hardy wants to the standard simply to say "new economic factors," with some board members noting that the concept of free markets was very different at that period. The proposal passes. The board's far-right members don't like it. 11:14 - Hardy wants to change "explain the benefits of free enterprise in the Industrial Revolution." She wants the standard simply to say "effects of free enterprise," noting that there were good and bad effects. Her goal, she says, is to remove "value-laden language" so that students can understand different sides of issues. The proposal passes. Far-right board members oppose. Read More

9:14 - The board is back and continuing with eighth-grade American history. 9:24 - The board has just voted preliminary approval for the K-8 standards. The board will take a final vote on those standards tomorrow. Board members will now take up the high school standards. 9:27 - Don McLeroy is offering amendments to the high school American history standards. He wants to add a standard to a discussion of reform and third-party movements of the early 20th century. This is different from the proposed standard that he released publicly last Friday. His new revision would require students to "describe the optimism of the many immigrants who were thankful to find a better life in America." He argues that this standard balances a more optimistic view of America with other discussions in the broader standard (Progressive Era reforms, muckrakers, etc.). Other board members persuade him to move his amendment elsewhere, to a discussion in the standards about political, economic, and social changes in the late 1800s. Read More

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