In Texas, the question of how to teach about evolution is on the table again.
The state’s board of education is considering removing a group of standards that encourage teachers to examine scientific evidence for evolution with a critical eye, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
The standards were adopted in 2009 after a debate that drew national attention.
The standards in question don’t specifically ask teachers to analyze the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolutionary theory, as did a previous set of Texas science standards. But they were called out for using unscientific language.
In practice, the standards drew complaints from teachers, who said they were unwieldy, the Statesman reports. The state’s board took a preliminary vote to remove the four standards in July, and tasked a committee with streamlining the state’s science standards.
But the committee’s recommendations are controversial. Evolution News and Views writes that dropping the standards means dropping “quality science” from the state’s curriculum. And one committee member, Baylor University chemistry professor Chuck Garner, told the Statesman that the standards don’t invite junk science into the classroom and that the committee is waging a political war.
The state’s board is already involved in a political war about a new textbook that’s been proposed for use in a Mexican-American studies high school course. The book has been decried for racist language.
The board’s next meeting is in November.
Texas isn’t the only state where the teaching of evolution remains controversial. Earlier this year, Louisiana’s legislature voted not to repeal a law that asks schools to give equal weight to evolution and creationism. And evolution was a hot topic when South Dakota was debating whether to adopt new science standards in 2015.
- Evolution Coverage Improves, Review Finds (2009)
- Texas Charter System Accused of Teaching Creationism
- Louisiana Won’t Take Unconstitutional Creationism Law Off the Books
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.