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As the Texas state board of education prepares for its final vote on a new set of state science standards, no fewer than fifty-four scientific and educational societies are calling for the approval of the standards as originally submitted — without misleading language about "strengths and weaknesses" and without the flawed amendments undermining the teaching of evolution proposed at the board's January 2009 meeting.
With evolution sure to be a hotly debated topic at the next meeting of the Texas state board of education, with a bill just introduced in the Texas legislature aimed at restoring the contentious "strengths and weaknesses" language to the standards, and with a different bill aimed at exempting the Institute for Creation Research's graduate school from the regulations governing degree-granting institutions in Texas, there's no shortage of news from the Lone Star state.
House Bill 2800 (PDF), introduced in the Texas House of Representatives on March 9, 2009, would, if enacted, in effect exempt institutions such as the Institute for Creation Research's graduate school from Texas's regulations governing degree-granting institutions.
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.