Editorial support for science standards in Texas

Texas's newspapers are beginning to express their editorial support of the draft set of science standards, released by the Texas Education Agency on September 22, 2008, and applauded for their treatment of evolution by the Texas Freedom Network, Texas Citizens for Science, and the newly formed 21st Century Science Coalition.

Referring to the absence of the "strengths and weaknesses" language from the draft standards, the Waco Tribune (October 3, 2008) commented, "Explaining and investigating 'strengths and weaknesses' of any theory is inherent in scientific inquiry. But having such language in state standards, as has been the case for several years, is code for those who want religion to have a foot in the door when Darwin comes up," and added, "acknowledging the shortcomings of scientific theories, no matter what they are, is one of the essences of science. But when the objective is to inject matters spiritual, we are not talking about science. We are talking about religion that wants a seat at the table."

The Austin American-Statesman (October 6, 2008) urged the board of education to "defer to scientists and its own advisory committee when it comes to determining what should be taught in biology classes. The six-member advisory committee, which includes science teachers and curriculum experts, recommended eliminating ideas 'based upon purported forces outside of nature' from high school biology courses. In other words, get rid of creationism and intelligent design, which teach that the universe was created by God or some other higher power." Invoking the increasing economic importance of evolutionary biology, the editorial added, "McLeroy and other board members should be strengthening science standards to accommodate a big push to attract world-class biomedical researchers, companies and grants to Texas. Those are growth industries that have not looked favorably on communities that water down science studies with vague and unproven ideas."

We can't afford to lose any time when it comes to the future of science education.

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