At its April 24, 2008, meeting, the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board unanimously voted to deny the Institute for Creation Research's request for a state certificate of authority to offer a master's degree in science education through its graduate school, recently relocated to Texas, as the Houston Chronicle (April 24, 2008) reported. The board's vote accorded with a recommendation issued on April 23, 2008, by the board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee, which in turn was based on a recommendation by Raymund Paredes, the Texas Commissioner of Higher Education.
According to a THECB press release, "Paredes based the recommendation on two considerations: 1) that ICR failed to demonstrate that the proposed degree program meets acceptable standards of science and science education; and 2) that the proposed degree is inconsistent with Coordinating Board rules which require the accurate labeling or designation of programs ... Since the proposed degree program inadequately covers key areas of science, it cannot be properly designated either as 'science' or 'science education.'"
Paredes's recommendation was echoed by a host of scientists in Texas. Recently, for example, a survey conducted by Raymond A. Eve for the Texas Freedom Network and NCSE polled 881 science faculty members at fifty public and private Texas universities for their opinions of the ICR's request for certification; nearly 200 faculty members responded, with 185 (95% of respondents) opposed to certifying the program.
At the committee meeting, the Dallas Morning News (April 23, 2008) reported, Paredes said, "Evolution is such a fundamental principle of contemporary science it is hard to imagine how you could cover the various fields of science without giving it the proper attention it deserves as a foundation of science." "In insisting on a literal interpretation of biblical creation," Paredes added, the ICR's science education program "gives insufficient coverage to conventional science and does not adequately prepare students in the field of science education."
The Austin American-Statesman (April 24, 2008) editorially applauded the board's decision, writing, "We applaud the board for setting this precedent in what will surely be a long series of battles involving science education in Texas. After the wars over the teaching of both evolution and intelligent design that have splintered Kansas for the past nine years, Texans can breathe at least a momentary sigh of relief. ... Paredes and the coordinating board took a correct and principled stand in denying the creationist institute's science course."
Despite the board's vote, the issue is not definitively resolved yet. The ICR will now have 45 days to file an appeal or 180 days to reapply for another certificate of authority. After the committee's vote, the Dallas Morning News reported, the ICR's chief executive officer Henry Morris III "said the institute may revise its application or take its case to court. 'We will pursue due process,' he told the board. 'We will no doubt see you in the future.'"