Dunbar offers a new amendment to the fraught 3A, formerly the “strengths and weaknesses” language. It would now read:

analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations in all fields of science by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing, by examining scientific evidence that is supportive and not supportive of those explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

She cites bogus claims about any change in the language possibly creating a legal cause of action based on “legislative intent.” This isn’t a legislature, and no one wants to ask the Board’s lawyer whether that is true.

Bob Craig, a linchpin in the weak coalition of science defenders, offers a new amendment:

analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations in all fields of science by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific experiments so as to encourage critical thinking by students.

Dunbar, speaking for Craig’s amendment, says it would allow teaching “both sides.” Berlanga, by videoconference, comes out against it. Hardy says the amendment is fine, and addresses everyone’s concerns. Lawrence Allen says it leaves flexibility in the standards. “I don’t know what ‘all sides’ means, I don’t know what ‘all’ ever means,” he explains, and adds “Our intent is for good.”

Mavis Knight prefers language from the work groups, but is supportive because “I would do almost anything to get ‘strengths and weaknesses’ out of the standards.”

Cargill, Craig, and Nuñez are in a clutch, discussing something. Cargill is looking over Tincey Miller’s shoulder, now.

Mavis to Dunbar: “For one time, I see statesmanship from your side of the Board.” McLeroy gavels that down.

Berlanga: “The reason my husband has recovered ? is because of science, and because of God,” so let’s give scientists the resources they need. Thinks this amendment will suck, because she’s seen the Board’s creationists take advantage of any compromise.

Cargill offers a grammatical change:

in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific experiments so as to encourage critical thinking by students.

“Trying to think like a science teacher,” she thinks chemistry teacher might’ve looked at this and thought it was necessary also to teach biology. Craig is fine with it. Every standard in the TEKS begins with a verb, which would mark this as somehow special. No one knows what “all sides” is supposed to mean.

We’re in a break, I guess.

Update: Knight asks about the issue that verbs come first, and Craig and McLeroy say that other standards aren’t like that, so no one cares.

Mercer is being pissy, perhaps feeling like he got rolled.

The vote is 11-4. That’s on the amendment to Craig’s amendment. There’s parliamentary squabbling. There are amendments to amendments to amendments by now. No one’s sure what the vote was on, but there’s still a vote coming to insert the amendment.

Now they’re voting on whether to amend Dunbar’s amendment to reflect Craig’s language.

Then they’ll vote on whether to insert the language.

The vote is 14-1, now we vote on the insertion.

Vote is 13-2, Nuñez and Berlanga in opposition.

How bad this is will depend on whether the crummy amendments from yesterday and from January will stay in. Those amendments introduce topics not appropriate for high school, and could well be used as a wedge to bring in creationism, especially in conjunction with the “all sides language.” That language is certainly an improvement over S&W, and over Dunbar’s “supportive and not supportive” language.

Comments

  1. #1 Ian
    March 27, 2009

    I think we should teach strengths and weaknesses:

    The strength is the scientific method.

    The weakness is the space between your average creationist’s ears.

    No problem.

  2. #2 Gene Goldring
    March 27, 2009

    So is this finished as onenewsnow is reporting?

    By a vote of 13-to-2, the Board decided to replace strengths and weakness with the language “examining all sides of science.”

    “It amounts to the same thing,” Saenz explains. “And that’s that students and teachers are going to continue in Texas to have the freedom to discuss all sides of scientific theories.”

    http://onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=468222

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