“The high school biology course is exemplary in its choice and presentation of topics, including its thorough consideration of biological evolution,” according to the report being released today.
But the evaluation also found that evolution is largely absent from middle school and elementary grades, which means that “students are not prepared to learn what they need to learn at the high school level,” said Kathleen Porter-Magee, senior director of the High Quality Standards Project at the Fordham Institute.
The report for Texas is a short, readable four pages. And while the phrase “conservative think tank” conjures bad images of other institutions, this one does not sympathize with creationism or intelligent design. Here’s a clip (my emphasis):
(T)he seventh-grade standards mention the Galapagos finches, giving the impression that the Darwinian paradigm is being presented. Unfortunately, it is not. Instead, the example of the finch Geospiza fortis apparently refers to studies by Peter and Rosemary Grant on beak size in this species, made widely known by Jonathan Weiner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Beak of the Finch. Creationists often distort these important findings to argue that Darwinian macroevolution does not occur—instead, microevolution does.
The Austin American Statesman article continues:
Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science and a longtime critic of the board’s conservatives, said the Fordham analysis overlooked some glaring problems with Texas' standards.
He pointed to a separate examination from the National Center for Science Education that found Texas’ standards contain “creationist jargon” and “reflect political and religious agendas, rather than good pedagogy and strong science.”
There are reports for every state, here.