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Progress in Texas?

"Efforts to push creationist instructional materials into Texas science classrooms were dealt a setback today," the Texas Freedom Network reported on its blog (July 15, 2011). Materials submitted for approval by the state board of education by International Databases were not on the list of supplementary science materials that the Texas education commissioner recommended for approval. Those materials, as TFN and NCSE charged in a joint press release issued in April 2011, reject mainstream evolutionary science and promote "intelligent design" creationism.

TFN explained, "The commissioner's list is usually based on recommendations from Texas Education Agency review teams made up of teachers, scholars and other citizens. Those teams met in Austin last month to review all of the proposed science instructional materials. Apparently, the review teams decided that International Databases had failed to cover the required curriculum standards appropriately." The list is only a recommendation, however, and it is open to the state board of education to decide, by a majority vote, to approve the International Databases materials despite the recommendation.

There is reason to be concerned, too: the new chair of the board, Barbara Cargill, is a member of the antievolution faction on the board. In a recent speech to the Texas Eagle Forum, reported by TFN, she described the 2009 debate over the content of Texas's state science education standards as "a spiritual battle" and vowed to "work diligently" to try to undermine the treatment of evolution in the supplementary materials that the board will be considering on July 21 and 22, 2011. TFN will be reporting from the meeting, and NCSE's Joshua Rosenau will be testifying in Austin to support the integrity of science education in the Lone Star state.