I mentioned yesterday's worrying new story about Chris Comer, a member of the Texas Education Agency.
Here's how it's being pitched elsewhere.
- "Evolution Debate Led to Ouster, Official Says" - Associated Press
- "McCarthyist-like witch hunt" - Email from Tom Johnson, Texas Faculty Association
- "I did assume that the Texas Education Agency would support science education. I guess I was wrong. The situation is really bad, though, if learning about science is a subject that gets the Texas Legislature upset." - PZ Myers on Pharyngula
- "Apparently, not being a team player in the The Republican War on Science is a firing offense at the TEA." - Wesley R. Elsberry on Panda's Thumb
Now, just because such shenanigans have happened before -- repeatedly -- doesn't mean they happened this time.
Good for the Austin American-Statesman to have the actual copy of the memo in question (PDF format). I looked at this and tried read it as objectively as I could.
My impression was that this was perhaps not as clear cut as many would like it to be. This whole thing isn't about one forwarded email. There's a series of events, and it looks like there had been warnings delivered before about how her employers wanted things done.
But I have to say these do not look like the sort of issues that people lose their job over. I wouldn't quite call them trumped up charges yet. The whole things reeks of a bad (maybe hostile) working relationship. But the situation may be more complex than a one-note summary termination that some are saying this is.
And yes, there's enough there that I still have the nagging suspicion that this could be part of a bigger trend to reduce opposition to introducing pointless language about evolution into the Texas education standards.
The Texas Education Agency should expect a lot of very careful scrutiny in the next little while. Because if there is any further hints of "criticism" of evolution, they can expect a huge fight on their hands.