20 January 2014

Get charter

January has been a crazy month, what with the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting, manuscripts due, the start of classes, a public talk at the World Birding Center this past weekend, and much more.

Just a quick post to note that I have seen, and am not surprised by, a recent story that charter schools are teaching creationism.

Another Responsive Ed section claims that evolution cannot be tested, something biologists have been doing for decades. It misinforms students by claiming, “How can scientists do experiments on something that takes millions of years to accomplish? It’s impossible.”

The curriculum tells students that a “lack of transitional fossils” is a “problem for evolutionists who hold a view of uninterrupted evolution over long periods of time.”

I suspect it will take someone to launch a legal challenge to get these schools to knock that off. And the school will lose in court, as creationists always have.

Additional: Texas Freedom Network reports on the response from the Responsive Ed charter school, which mostly boils down to, “Yes, that’s right.”

Cook begins his defense by arguing that Responsive Ed’s instructional materials on evolution are simply conforming to the Texas curriculum standards by “examining all sides of scientific evidence” of scientific explanations.

This was a concern about the phrase “all sides of scientific evidence” when the standards were drafted, and I was hoping that the addition of the word “scientific” would squash such attempts. But then, creationists have a very unusual perspective of scientific evidence.

The Texas Education Agency is investigating.

Additional: And this story is starting to gain traction ntionally, as an LA Times article shows:

One way to react to a school system that places “supernatural intervention” on the same scientific plane as a natural process, however dopily described, is with relief that these 17,000 children won’t be equipped to compete in the real world with our kids. Life in modern America is hard enough, so there’s something Darwinian indeed about saddling all those kids with the burden of a 16th-century education.

Indeed, I think Richard Dawkins noted that those who oppose teaching selection in the classroom as wasteful and unlikely to produce anything often want to apply it with tremendous zeal in the social arena.

And this is why Texas struggles to become a tech leader. This is the image the state has: as anti-intellectual and regressive on the teaching of science.

External links

Texas Public Schools Are Teaching Creationism
Texas’ possibly unconstitutional biology lessons now happen in charter schools
Texas Creationists Demonstrate the Real Reason Behind the Support For Charter Schools
Texas Charter School Operator Defends Misleading Its Students with Junk Science, Political Propaganda
Texas Education Agency Looking at Troubling Charter School Curriculum

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