In mid-December 2007 the Certification Advisory Council of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) recommended that the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) be allowed to offer on-line Master’s degrees in science education. ICR, like Answers in Genesis, espouses Young Earth Creationism, a literal view of the Bible that contends the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. This world-view permeates the ICR graduate program in Science Teacher Education. ICR is seeking approval from the THECB to begin offering degrees immediately while waiting for accreditation from the state-recognized Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.

In light of this troubling development, 2007 AIBS President Douglas J. Futuyma wrote to THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes on behalf of AIBS expressing his serious concerns with the ICR request and encouraging the THECB to deny certification. Futuyma wrote, “It is unacceptable for the state to sanction the training of science educators committed to the practice of advancing their religious beliefs in a science classroom.” He continued, “The THECB will ill-serve science students if it certifies a science teacher education program based on a religious world-view rather than modern science.”

The letter may be read at: http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20071228_aibs_letter_to_5.html

In response to the AIBS letter and those from many other science education advocates, Commissioner Paredes has appointed a second evaluation committee, to re-evaluate the ICR application to grant graduate degrees in science education. This committee is scheduled to meet for the first time 7 January, and the entire THECB is scheduled to consider the ICR request on 24 January 2008.

 


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