Texas upholds teaching evolution
In an evenly split vote, the state Board of Education on Thursday upheld teaching evolution as accepted mainstream science.
The New York Times
AUSTIN, Texas — In an evenly split vote, the state Board of Education on Thursday upheld teaching evolution as accepted mainstream science.
Supporters of evolution hailed the vote but were critical of amendments adopted by the board that they said could create new paths to teaching creationism and the similar notion of intelligent design in public schools.
If given final approval in a vote expected today, the new standards will drop a 20-year-old rule that requires that "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories to be taught. Critics said the requirement is used to undermine the theory of evolution in favor of religious teachings.
Social conservatives on the board, using a series of amendments tailored to particular subjects, succeeded in requiring teachers to evaluate critically a variety of scientific principles such as cell formation and the Big Bang.
The debate over new curriculum requirements, to take effect in 2010, stands to influence educational standards nationwide. Once every decade, major textbook publishers revise their offerings to match the requirements newly set forth by Texas, which is one of their largest bulk customers.
The debate centered on a long-standing clause that requires teachers to address the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories, including Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Teachers quietly ignored the requirements for decades.
The board tentatively decided in January to drop the "strengths and weaknesses" language. On Thursday, Democrats and moderate Republicans on the board blocked a proposal by social conservatives to reinstate it.
After failing to overhaul the curriculum broadly, conservatives instead attached a series of measures specific to subjects such as biology, where teachers would be newly required to "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of natural selection to explain the complexity of the cell."
Federal courts have ruled against teaching public schools teaching creationism and intelligent design, which holds that life is so complex that it must have come from an intelligent higher power.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
NEW - 07:13 AM
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is writing memoir
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
(Courtesy of LeMay — America's Car Museum) New LeMay exhibit to look at NASCAR LeMay — America's Car Museum in Tacoma will look at the wil...
Post a comment