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In a close vote on January 23, 2009, the Texas state board of education approved a revision of the state's science standards lacking the controversial "strengths and weaknesses" language, which in 2003 was selectively applied by members of the board attempting to dilute the treatment of evolution in the biology textbooks then under consideration.
In a close vote on Friday, the Texas State Board of Education approved revised science standards which removed controversial language mandating that students be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories.
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) applauds this move, since the references to "weaknesses" in the old standards have been used to introduce creationist attacks on evolution in textbooks and classrooms.
"The latest round in a long-running battle over how evolution should be taught in Texas schools began in earnest Wednesday as the State Board of Education heard impassioned testimony from scientists and social conservatives on revising the science curriculum," as The New York Times (January 22, 2009) reports.
As the Texas state board of education prepares to vote on a revised set of state science standards, two organizations — one secular, one religious — have joined forces to produce a new website, Teach Them Science, in order to advocate for a twenty-first-century science education for the students in Texas's public schools.
The third draft of Texas's science standards is available — and the creationist catchphrase "strengths and weaknesses" is absent.
The Texas state board of education heard testimony about the proposed new set of state science standards during its meeting on November 19, 2008 — and plenty of the testimony concerned the treatment of evolution in the standards. As the Dallas Morning News (November 20, 2008) explained, the standards "will dictate what is taught in science classes in elementary and secondary schools and provide the material for state tests and textbooks. The standards will remain in place for a decade after their approval by the state board."
Scientists at public and private universities in Texas overwhelmingly reject the arguments advanced by the antievolutionists seeking to undermine the treatment of evolution in Texas's state science standards, according to a report just released by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.
The Texas state board of education is scheduled to hear testimony on the state's science standards on November 19, 2008, and the treatment of evolution is likely to be a contentious issue.