One of the Republican candidates for the Texas State Board of Education District 15 seat, Marty Rowley of Amarillo, is offering one of his clearest arguments for teaching “intelligent design”/creationism in science classrooms. Rowley talked to the Amarillo Globe-News for a story about next year’s scheduled adoption of science textbooks by the state board:

“Evolutionists would say that we progressed to this point through a series of unplanned, random circumstances and random events. I don’t believe that tells the whole story. I think there is more to our creation that indicates an intelligent being that has played a significant role.”

Rowley goes on to argue that science students should learn “competing theories” and what he considers the flaws of evolution.

Rowley’s opponent in the GOP primary, Amarillo school board president Anette Carlisle, told the newspaper that the science standards should be based on the recommendations of teachers, scientists and other experts. She also worries that teaching about religious beliefs in the classroom will be divisive:

“We have multiple belief systems in our student population, and we have to be respectful of that and not try to force any one person’s belief system on other students.”

In… Read More

Cynthia Dunbar sounds just as extreme as she was when she left the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) at the end of 2010. Dunbar spoke Sunday night in Dallas as part of a panel discussion after a screening of the new documentary film “The Revisionaries.” The film, which premiered on Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, chronicles efforts by Dunbar and other religious-right SBOE members to hijack the revision of the science and social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools from 2008 to 2010. Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Dunbar on Sunday claimed opposition to including creationist’s anti-evolution arguments in science classrooms is “viewpoint discrimination.” From Kennedy’s piece:

Dunbar is one of several board members featured in the documentary, which “stars” former board Chairman Don McLeroy and his “young-Earth” view of creation, including his belief that dinosaurs were alongside other animals aboard Noah’s Ark.

The documentary revisits the board’ 2010 debate over teaching evolution.

Dunbar said even though “experts” oppose discussing other views as science, “that’s what they talked about in pre-Holocaust Germany as well.” She added that “making us a homogenous society that has [only] one… Read More

We’re excited to tell you that the Texas Freedom Network’s fight against textbook censorship and efforts to politicize public education will be part of a new documentary film premiering this weekend at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. “The Revisionaries” explores how far-right radicals on the State Board of Education in Texas worked from 2008 to 2010 to undermine the teaching of evolution and rewrite history in a campaign to indoctrinate public school students with their ideological agenda.

Here’s a trailer for the new film:

The film will also be screened at the Dallas International Film Festival this Sunday (April 22), the Independent Film Festival in Boston on April 30 and the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto beginning on May 1. Click here for more information about the screenings, including dates and locations.

TFN President Kathy Miller will attend the screenings at Tribeca and in Dallas and will also take part in panel discussions about the film and how the radical right is trying to hijack public education in America.

Director Scott Thurman of Texas has worked… Read More

The assault on science and science education continued throughout 2011. Today’s review of quotes from the past year shows that evolution and climate change were major targets in the right’s war on science, especially in Texas. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“The controversy over science standards was actually the result of an attempted hijacking of science for ideological purposes by evolutionists. Their agenda was much more about worldviews than biology. The standards reflect real science and challenge students to study some of evolution’s most glaring weaknesses in explaining the fossil record and the complexity of the cell.”

– Don McLeroy, former Texas State Board of Education member, writing in an op-ed column about the board’s record over the past several years. Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 2011

“If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.”

– Ken Mercer, member of the Texas State Board of Education, in another installment of his argument that evolution is bad science because there are no… Read More

What’s wrong with this picture?

According to the Dallas Observer, this PowerPoint slide was found on the central curriculum website (accessible only by teachers) for the Dallas Independent School District, the 12th-largest public school system in the country.

The slide was apparently part of a presentation titled “The Cell Theory.” The Observer notes most of the presentation was based on sound science. Until, of course, you got to the kicker in this slide.

The slide has since been yanked — after the Observer reporter started asking questions.

How did such blatantly unconstitutional creationism wind up  in the curricular materials for one of the country’s biggest school districts? We don’t know. Honest mistake or not, it goes to show that keeping creationist materials out of public school classrooms requires constant vigilance. Kudos to the Dallas Observer.… Read More