The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is revamping its science education standards for grades K-12. The current standards adopted in 1998 are up for a 10-year review and possible revision. Controversy abounds over the modification of the standards which currently includes language requiring that both the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution be taught to students. The SBOE released its second draft of the proposed Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science in November after receiving testimony from witnesses and public comments.
"The new draft contains loaded buzzwords that evolution deniers have used repeatedly to launch phony attacks on evolution," commented Texas Freedom Network president Kathy Miller.
The Texas Citizens for Science criticized the SBOE's selection of "science expert reviewers" stating that three of the witnesses selected by the board are Intelligent Design Creationists (IDC) and anti-evolution advocates. In addition, two of these reviewers, Stephen Meyer and Ralph Seelke, are not from Texas and are co-authors of an anti-evolution textbook that could potentially be purchased by Texas schools if the current standards are readopted. "This situation creates a tremendous financial conflict of interest for the two co-authors and disqualifies them to serve on any panel that will review science standards," states Dr. Steven Schafersman of the Texas Citizens for Science. The SBOE is expected to adopt new science standards in February or March 2009.
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