Oakland, March 25
Over 50 scientific societies representing hundreds of thousands of American scientists today publicly urged the Texas Board of Education to support accurate science education. The board—dominated by creationists—has been embroiled in a debate over changes to the Texas science standards that could compromise the teaching of evolution.
"Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, and is crucial in fields as diverse as agriculture, computer science, engineering, geology, and medicine," says the signed statement. "We oppose any efforts to undermine the teaching of biological evolution...whether by misrepresenting those subjects or by inaccurately describing them as controversial and in need of special scrutiny."
The scientific organizations signing the statement range from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Geological Institute, to the Federation of American Scientists and Society for American Archaeology.
The bottom line? "We want the board to support recommendations made by its own committees comprised of educators and scientists," says NCSE executive director Dr. Eugenie Scott. Adds NCSE Project Director Steven Newton: "The board's actions are the most specific assault I've seen against evolution and modern science to date."
The text of the statement:
A Message to the Texas State Board of Education
The undersigned scientific and educational societies call on the Texas State Board of Education to support accurate science education for all students by adopting the science standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS) as recommended to you by the scientists and educators on your writing committees.
Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, and is also crucial in fields as diverse as agriculture, computer science, engineering, geology, and medicine. We oppose any efforts to undermine the teaching of biological evolution and related topics in the earth and space sciences, whether by misrepresenting those subjects, or by inaccurately and misleadingly describing them as controversial and in need of special scrutiny.
At its January 2009 meeting, the Texas Board of Education rightly rejected attempts to add language to the TEKS about “strengths and weaknesses”—used in past efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution in Texas. We urge the Board to stand firm in rejecting any such attempts to compromise the teaching of evolution.
At its January 2009 meeting, the Board also adopted a series of amendments to the TEKS that misrepresent biological evolution and related topics in the earth and space sciences. We urge the Board to heed the advice of the scientific community and the experienced scientists and educators who drafted the TEKS: reject these and any other amendments which single out evolution for scrutiny beyond that applied to other scientific theories.
By adopting the TEKS crafted by your expert writing committees, the Board will serve the best educational interests of students in Texas’s public schools.
- American Anthropological Association
- American Association of Physical Anthropologists
- American Association of Physicists in Medicine
- American Association of Physics Teachers
- American Astronomical Society
- American Geological Institute
- American Institute for Biological Sciences
- American Institute of Physics
- American Physiological Society
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- American Society for Cell Biology
- American Society for Investigative Pathology
- American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental
- American Society of Human Genetics
- American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
- American Society of Naturalists
- American Society of Plant Biologists
- American Society of Plant Taxonomists
- Association for Women Geoscientists
- Association of American Geographers
- Association of Anatomy, Cell Biology, and Neurobiology Chairs
- Association of College & University Biology Educators
- Association of Earth Science Editors
- Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists
- Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
- Biotechnology Institute
- Botanical Society of America
- Clay Minerals Society
- Council on Undergraduate Research
- Ecological Society of America
- Federation for American Societies for Experimental Biology
- Federation of American Scientists
- Human Biology Association
- Institute of Human Origins
- National Association of Biology Teachers
- National Association of Geoscience Teachers
- National Earth Science Teachers Association
- National Science Teachers Association
- Natural Science Collection Alliance
- Paleontological Society
- Scientists and Engineers for America
- Society for American Archaeology
- Society for Developmental Biology
- Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
- Society for Sedimentary Geology
- Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
- Society for the Study of Evolution
- Society of Economic Geologists
- Society of Systematic Biologists
- Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
- Southwestern Association of Naturalists
- The Biophysical Society
- The Helminthological Society of Washington
- The Herpetologists' League
CONTACT: Robert Luhn, Director of Communications, NCSE, 510-601-7203, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Texas coverage, go here.