This just in from the NCSE:

The future of science education in Texas is on the line. The Texas Board of Education, after two previous contentious public hearings on high school science standards (TEKS), meets March 25-27 for its final vote.

As you may recall, at the previous meeting (January 23rd), the board voted to remove “strengths and weaknesses” wording from the science standards. That was a win for science. However, the Board took a big step backwards by allowing creationists to insert bogus attacks on evolution in the Earth and Space Science standards and the Biology standards.

In this final showdown, the Board will decide the science standards governing Texas high schools for the next decade, and affect textbook content throughout the country.

If the board’s creationist amendments stick, says Professor David Hillis of the University of Texas, Austin, “it will be a huge embarrassment to Texas, a setback for science education and a terrible precedent for the state boards overriding academic experts in order to further their personal religious or political agendas. The victims will be the schoolchildren of Texas, who represent the future of our state.” (Hillis was quoted in the Austin American-Statesman.)

Says NCSE Project Director, Steven Newton: “This is the most specific assault I’ve seen against evolution and modern science.”

This could be the most raucous hearing of the bunch. It’s crunch time for both sides, so expect heated testimony, protests, political theatre, and…who knows what else?

The Texas Freedom Network will be present and no doubt have some activities planned for the TV cameras. If you’d like to talk with Dan Quinn of the TFN, don’t hesitate to contact him at 512-322-0545, 512-799-3379 (cell), or dan@tfn.org.

The details on the Board meeting:

When: March 25 to 27 Where: William B. Travis Building, 1701 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX

Wednesday, March 25 12 to 6:30 pm: Board of Education Room 1-104 Purpose: Public testimony and debate on the proposed revised science standards. Agenda

Thursday, March 26 9 am: Board of Education Room 1-104 Purpose: The board will debate the issues (the key agenda item is #5…and maybe 8) and take a preliminary vote. Agenda

Friday, March 27 9 a.m.: Board of Education Room 1-104 Purpose: The official final vote. **Note: The vote can change from Thursday to Friday!** Agenda

RESOURCES

Overall board agenda

TEKS, as approved in January –Look for the item labeled: “Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 112, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science, Subchapter A, Elementary, Subchapter B, Middle School, and Subchapter C, High School”. A direct link

Analysis of the amendments to the TEKS: What wording is being disputed? http://ncseweb.org/creationism/analysis/analysis-proposed-texas-educational-knowledge-skills-teks-am

NCSE’s Texas coverage

Video of the January 2009 Board of Education meeting Dr. Eugenie Scott’s testimony and Board Chairman Don McLeroy’s commentary (look in the Playlists box)

Comments

  1. #1 Heraclides
    March 24, 2009

    Could someone tell us if the Chairman (Don McLeroy) has a casting vote in the event that the board’s vote is tied?

    (I recall reading that this board was set up to have two “for” and two “against”, which made me immediately think of what would happen in the event of a tie. A lot of time has passed since and I don’t follow this story well, so it may no longer be true, or my memory might be wrong, but if McLeory has a casting vote, and the board has this 2:2 balance, then isn’t it possible that it’d come down to McLeroy’s personal wishes?)