Texas board hears testimony on science standards

March 26, 2009 By APRIL CASTRO , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Tensions over the teaching of evolution are simmering as the State Board of Education begins the final stretch in the process of adopting new classroom science curriculum standards.

Activists on Wednesday took advantage of the last opportunity to testify on the proposed standards, which would drop a 20-year-old rule that requires both "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories be taught. Critics say the requirement is used to undermine the in favor of religious teachings.

The standards adopted by the board will be in place for a decade and will dictate how publishers cover the topic.

Protesters and activists gathered nearby, fervently arguing their sides of the debate.

"My grandfather was not a monkey!" one woman shouted at a crowd before the meeting began.

Most mainstream scientists agree that weaknesses in the theory of evolution are flimsy at best. But proponents of retaining the rule complain that the standard will apply to all while the political debate is focused on evolution.

"I'm very concerned that some of the of Education members will weaken every discipline of science if they remove the strengths and weaknesses language," said Don McCall, an engineer and president of the Leander school board. "This is not about a narrow issue but about every discipline of science and engineering."

A panel of science teachers had recommended that the language be dropped. Board members are expected to propose amendments to try to change the proposal before they vote on Thursday.

"Some state board members pretend they know more about science than the dedicated educators who last year drafted sound standards and the distinguished scientists who support them," said Kathy Miller, president of the watchdog group Freedom Network. "But this isn't a television show in which board members get to pretend they're something they're not. Maybe that's great for TV, but it's bad for education."

Federal courts have ruled against teaching of creationism and the similar theory of intelligent design in public schools.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Evolution still being debated in Kansas

Related Stories

Evolution still being debated in Kansas

August 9, 2005

The Kansas Board of Education is expected to soon adopt revised science standards encouraging students to challenge aspects of the theory of evolution.

AAAS denounces bills undermining evolution

February 20, 2006

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, meeting in St. Louis, said Sunday it strongly denounced legislation undermining evolution.

Utah House rejects evolution measure

February 28, 2006

Utah state representatives have rejected legislation that would have regulated how the theory of evolution is taught in public schools.

Recommended for you

Biologists trace how human innovation impacts tool evolution

November 24, 2015

Many animals exhibit learned behaviors, but humans are unique in their capacity to build on existing knowledge to make new innovations. Understanding the patterns of how new generations of tools emerged in prehistoric societies, ...

First Londoners were multi-ethnic mix: museum

November 23, 2015

A DNA analysis of four ancient Roman skeletons found in London shows the first inhabitants of the city were a multi-ethnic mix similar to contemporary Londoners, the Museum of London said on Monday.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.