Federal File: Dollars and Darwin; Bell's Foundation; Emergency Repairs

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

The coverage of evolution in science textbooks has decreased "dramatically" during the past four years, indicating that "dollars speak louder than Darwin," a spokesman for a national civil-liberties organization told a group of educators at a recent meeting organized by the National Education Association.

According to Barbara Parker of People for the American Way, the reduction in references to the scientific theory is largely due to "conservative" textbook-selection guidelines in Texas, where 10 percent of the nation's texts are purchased.

Those guidelines, she said, "effectively ensure that texts used in Texas will be censored. And that means changes in Texas will extend far beyond state boundaries. What they get in Texas is what you get elsewhere, whether you like it or not."

Recently, Ms. Parker's organization led a successful effort to amend the state's textbook-selection rules to allow concerned citizens--and civil-liberties activists--to speak in favor of textbooks being considered for adoption by the state. Previously, only the viewpoints of book critics were accepted.

The Congress's disinterest last year in Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell's plan to turn the Education Department into a foundation may cause the Secretary to propose "something completely different," Mr. Bell said last month.

Speaking at the annual convention of the American Association of School Administrators in Atlantic City, Mr. Bell said that because the President continues to believe that the department is "too powerful," the Secretary will continue to try to make good on a "commitment to him" to reorganize the department.

A $3-billion bill that would allow school districts to hire unemployed workers to repair and renovate school buildings was introduced in the House last week.

The "emergency educational facilities repair and renovation for jobs act," as the measure is called, was sponsored by Democratic Representatives Dale E. Kildee of Michigan, Mario Biaggi of New York, and Pat Williams of Montana. The proposal would authorize $1.5 billion for elementary and secondary education, $1 billion for postsecondary education, and $500 million for libraries.

"Our schools and libraries are in an increasingly general state of disrepair because money has not been available for needed maintainance and renovations," said Representative Kildee.

Meanwhile, the House last week worked on a $4.6-billion "bipartisan'' jobs-creation bill that could funnel up to $200 million to schools and libraries.

The bill would provide $40 million to help schools build "barrier-free" exits, $60 million for school construction in federal "impact-aid" districts, and another $100 million for library construction and renovation.

The measure would also add $100 million to the federal program that provides summer jobs for youth.

--Tom Mirga and Eileen white

Vol. 02, Issue 24

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >