Education Advocates Stand Up for Sound Science in Texas
Watchdogs, Business and Academic Leaders Call on Texas State Board of Education to Adopt Instructional Materials Based on Sound Science, Not Ideology
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2011
State and national organizations joined business leaders and scholars today in calling on the Texas State Board of Education to adopt new instructional materials that don’t dumb down science education in Texas public schools.
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller urged the State Board of Education to reject the adoption of any instructional materials promoting "intelligent design"/creationism, such as those proposed by New Mexico-based International Databases. The board also must not pressure other publishers into watering down instruction on mainstream evolutionary science in the materials they have submitted for adoption.
"Texas parents want teachers and scholars, not politicians promoting personal agendas, making decisions about what our kids learn in their public school classrooms," Miller said. "And teachers and scholars are virtually unanimous in insisting that students learn sound science that prepares them to succeed in college and a 21st-century economy."
The adoption of instructional materials that reject well-established evolutionary science would put Texas far outside the educational mainstream, said Josh Rosenau, director of programs and policy for the National Center for Science Education.
"No state has adopted creationist materials for science classes, and Texas should not be the first to do so," Rosenau said. "In fact, failing to teach students sound evolutionary science would put public education in Texas far outside the national mainstream."
Promoting anti-evolution arguments in Texas public schools would also make it harder to attract the nation’s top scientists and businesses to the state, said Austin businessman and entrepreneur Matt Winkler.
"Over the last 20 years I have had the opportunity to recruit a large number of scientists to Texas," said Winkler, CEO of Asuragen and chairman of Mirna Therapeutics. "Not infrequently, I get questions about the quality of science education that their children might get if they accept a job with me and move to Texas. It is hard enough trying to improve cancer treatment and create great companies without having to worry about counteracting negative impressions about our school systems while trying to recruit first-rate employees."
Prof. Ron Wetherington, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, warned that dumbing down evolutionary science in public schools would make it harder for Texas students to succeed in college.
"When the state board debates and votes on these proposed instructional materials, we will hold them to the test of good science," Wetherington said. "We are hopeful that this board will support responsible education and prevent ideologues from trying to force junk science into our classrooms."
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan education and religious liberties watchdog based in Austin. Founded in 1995, the grassroots organization of religious and community leaders supports public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.