News in Brief

Evolution Debate Remains Vexing for Texas Board

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

The Texas board of education has tentatively dropped language from the state science standards saying students should be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution, a move that pleased scientists.

Yet the board, at a meeting late last week, drew strong objections from scientific experts through its preliminary approval of amendments that call into question core aspects of the benchmark biological theory, including the common ancestry of living things.

Curricular decisions in Texas, because of its share of the education market, hold significant sway over textbook publishers and curriculum developers across the country.

In January, the 15-member board narrowly decided to remove the strengths-and-weaknesses language. Last week, in another, preliminary vote, the board rejected an effort to reinsert that language, a move applauded by scientists.

At that same March 26 meeting, however, the board had approved an amendment calling for students to analyze the "sufficiency or insufficiency," of evidence for common ancestry. The board also called for students to "analyze the sufficiency or insufficiency of natural selection to explain the complexity of the cell."

Scientists say that language is misleading, since it implies that common ancestry and natural selection are riddled with doubt, when it fact they are backed up by voluminous scientific evidence.

Common ancestry is rejected by some critics, including those who believe that God created humans and all living things as described in the Bible.

Scientists also objected to other amendments they say undermine the teaching of science generally, such as language calling for critical analysis of molecular biology and the Big Bang.

That language was all tentative, pending a final board vote on March 27. Many scientific organizations have argued for a comprehensive teaching of evolution.

"We urge you to vote for removing anti-science changes to the draft standards and protect the future of science education and technology-based industry in Texas," the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote in a March 23 letter to the board.

Vol. 28, Issue 27, Page 4

Published in Print: April 1, 2009, as Evolution Debate Remains Vexing for Texas Board
Related Stories
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, 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

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

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

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >