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SBOE Vote Against 'Strengths and Weaknesses' Language Represents Major Victory for Science Education

Board Still Needs to Clean Up Creationist Language Remaining in Draft Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2009

The Texas State Board of Education today gave preliminary approval to draft public school science standards that do not include sweeping, scientifically unsound language that would have required students to learn "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories. Creationists on the board had made clear their desire to use that language to require new biology textbooks in 2011 to include phony arguments against evolution. Their efforts to add "strengths and weaknesses" to the draft standards failed.

Texas Freedom Network is releasing the following statement from TFN President Kathy Miller:

"The very good news is that a majority of board members have endorsed the efforts of Texas science teachers and highly respected Texas scientists in rejecting creationist efforts to undermine our kids' education about evolution. They refused to allow the culture war code words of 'strengths and weaknesses' into the science curriculum standards. This is a very important victory for sound science education. A board majority stood firmly behind 21st-century science and should be applauded.

In a desperate last-minute maneuver, however, the chairman introduced a garbled pseudoscientific amendment. That measure could provide a small foothold for teaching creationist ideas and dumbing down biology instruction in Texas. The amendment, which attacks a core concept of evolutionary biology common descent passed by a narrow margin.  The chairman's 'Hail Mary' pass is now under review by genuine scientists from Texas' respected universities and colleges. In fact, it is absurd to think that education policy can be made without consulting such experts. We're confident that once board members have time to huddle with those experts, they will throw a penalty flag, call back the pass and stop efforts by creationists to dumb down science education in Texas."

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who advance a mainstream agenda supporting public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.

 

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