Texas Science Education Update (27 Oct)

WE HAVE two articles worthy of your attention today. The first is a fine essay by Terry C. Maxwell, a professor of biology at Angelo State University, which appears in the San Angelo Standard-Times: Evolution belongs in schools.

You’ll need to click over there to read it, because we can’t give you any excerpts without their permission. Dr. Maxwell criticizes the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) because of their announcement of the appointment of six people to a panel that will review the new science curriculum standards. He points out that only three of the panel are recognized and accomplished Texas scientists, and the other three are creationists.

We’ve written about this before, for example: Texas Science Education: Jumping off the Roof?

The next article on the topic of Texas science education is in the Dallas Morning News: State officeholders face challenges. The first half, which doesn’t interest us here, is about elections to the Texas Railroad Commission, which has nothing to do with railroads. It regulates Texas’ oil and gas industry. But then:

In other downballot races, four members of the State Board of Education face major challenges. The 15-member board sets school curricula, selects textbooks and manages the $25 billion Permanent School Fund.

Quite so. That’s the board of which Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist, is chairman. More:

The board is often sharply divided on policy discussions between social conservatives and moderates. The divide will be underscored in the coming months when the board takes up science curriculum standards.

The article discusses those four races, and disappoints by giving fuzzy descriptions of some candidates’ positions. If we voted in Texas we’d already know who’s who, but we don’t, so we’ve only been paying attention to the issue, not the candidates. The most we can figure out from this one article is the following:

In South Texas, the board’s longest serving member, Democrat Mary Helen Berlanga, has been a critic of intelligent design.

In Southeast Texas, Republican David Bradley has said he’s not interested in changing the current [“strengths and weaknesses”] requirement for teaching evolution, nor would he support a move to include the theory of intelligent design. It sounds like he’s on both sides, and based on that description we don’t trust him.

In Dallas, incumbent Democrat Mavis Knight has been a vocal critic of the social conservatives. Presumably she’s anti-creationism, but the description isn’t as clear as we’d like.

In a north central Texas district that includes Denton and Hillsboro, retired English professor Edra Bogle is challenging Republican incumbent Gail Lowe, a social conservative. We’d like more information on this too.

If you’re a voter in Texas you may want to take a look at this article. Science education is important — the future hangs in the balance.

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4 responses to “Texas Science Education Update (27 Oct)

  1. Please support Laura Ewing and Edra Bogle! For a concise and damning indictment of David Bradley and Gail Lowe and the state of the Texas SBOE in general, I recommend this video by AronRa:

  2. James knows what he’s talking about. Texas voters, listen up!

  3. The Texas Freedom Network [ http://tfn.org ] has a report which shines serious light on the far-right members of the Texas SBoE: [ http://tinyurl.com/rrreport08 ] (pdf). The title of the report is ” The State of the Religious Right: Dragging Texas Schools into the Culture Wars”

  4. Thanks, txjak. I knew the information was out there, somewhere.