23 March 2009

This is the week for Texas science standards

The final vote on the Texas K-12 science standards is this week. It’s going to be... intense.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

All members of the board have come under enormous pressure in recent months, especially three Republicans who support teaching evolution without references to “weaknesses.” The state Republican Party passed a resolution urging the three to back Dr. McLeroy’s preferred curriculum. A conservative activist group put out a news release suggesting all three were in the pocket of “militant Darwinists.”

It’s time to put the word “militant” away and save it for people who actually carry guns and bombs.

Meanwhile, the Evo.Sphere blog is collecting letters from national scientific agencies who have written letters to the Texas State Board of Education that more or less ask them to adopt the standards the experts originally submitted, and take out some of the amendments that McLeroy and other got in. The big one is the letter from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who got signatures from an impressive number of big university mucky-mucks, including the chancellor of the University of Texas system to which my institution belongs.

I feel sad for those State Board of Education members who are generally characterized as “swing voters.” I don’t even want to think about what kind of politicking they must be getting subjected to.

Prediction: I’m betting that all of this won’t change much. I think there will be a lot of 8-7 votes. I think they’ll be in favour of the original expert recommendations, but I’m not counting on it.

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