STANDING UP FOR SCIENCE
The most recent battle to support science education in Texas came to a successful conclusion in July 2011. In the face of strong opposition from the Texas Freedom Network, our coalition partners, educators and scholars, creationists on and off the State Board of Education were forced to adopt science instructional materials that didn't dumb down instruction on evolution.
This battle over science education came in two phases. In 2009 TFN and our coalition partners persuaded a majority of State Board of Education members to strip out of new science curriculum standards a requirement that public school students learn about phony "weaknesses" of evolution. Evolution deniers and proponents of "intelligent design"/creationism have long used that misleading requirement to undermine science instruction in Texas and across the country. Unfortunately, far-right state board members and pressure groups succeeded in seeding the new science curriculum standards with other measures they hoped would force publishers to insert anti-evolution propaganda into new textbooks and instructional materials.
Publishers submitted their new science materials based on those standards in spring 2011. Fortunately, all but one refused to insert anti-evolution propaganda into their materials.
TFN launched an intensive campaign to defend those legitimate science materials and insist that the state board reject any that would teach public school students "intelligent design"/creationism in their science classrooms. Far-right groups like the Discovery Institute attacked the proposed science materials, demanding that publishers add anti-evolution arguments. But as a result of our campaign and the departure of two creationists from the board following the November 2010 elections, we won the biggest victory for science education in nearly a decade. None of the materials approved by the state board include anti-evolution propaganda. A majority of board members refused to force publishers into watering down instruction about evolution. Moreover, they rejected the submission of the one product that promoted "intelligent design"/creationism.
TFN will continue to support sound science education in Texas public schools. You can help:
- Join the Stand Up for Science Rapid Response Team
- Sign the clergy statement on evolution (for religious leaders only)
- Involve your congregation in Evolution Weekend
Other TFN Resources
Read TFN's press release about the creationist Foundation for Truth and Ethics group.
View video highlights on TFNTV from the SBOE's debate over science curriculum standards in 2009.
Watch SBOE members in action in our video archive.