Setback for Creationists in Texas

Efforts to push creationist instructional materials into Texas science classrooms were dealt a setback today. The Texas education commissioner’s list of science materials recommended for adoption by the State Board of Education, which was released today, doesn’t include the proposed materials from New Mexic0-based International Databases. The Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education reported last April that the International Databases materials reject mainstream evolutionary science and instead promote “intelligent design”/creationism.

The commissioner’s list is usually based on recommendations from Texas Education Agency review teams made up of teachers, scholars and other citizens. Those teams met in Austin last month to review all of the proposed science instructional materials. Apparently, the review teams decided that International Databases had failed to cover the required curriculum standards appropriately.

On the other hand, the State Board of Education can choose to adopt or reject any instructional materials simply by a majority vote, regardless of what the education commissioner recommends. Moreover, it has been difficult to obtain information regarding any changes the other publishers might have made to their products to meet objections from creationists. And new state board chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, has already said that she and other creationists on the board will try to force publishers to add anti-evolution arguments to their materials.

Still, International Databases’ failure to get on the commissioner’s recommended list is a major blow to opponents of teaching sound evolutionary science in Texas classrooms. In fact, the head of that company ( it appears to be a one-man company) is claiming that “Darwinists” have been conspiring to prevent his materials from being adopted. The Texas Freedom Network has obtained a June 16 email from Stephen O. Sample to the Texas Education Agency:

“Unfortunately, due to the possible calculated efforts of pro-Darwinist activists (TEA personnel?) the SBOE will not have the opportunity to see or discuss a submission that was true to the intent of the new [curriculum standards]. It is a sad day for the students and citizens of Texas that there has been no fairness in this process regarding our submission. Freedom of Choice — a foundation upon which America was built — has been denied to Texas citizens.”

Of course, science is determined by research and evidence, not “freedom of choice.” “Intelligent design”/creationism isn’t supported by a shred of scientific evidence. So it’s very good news that the review teams and education commissioner have rejected International Databases’ materials.

We’ll keep you updated on any information we’re able to gather about instructional materials submitted by other publishers. The state board will hold a public hearing on the materials next Thursday and will vote on which materials to adopt on Friday. It’s sure to be another drama-filled week at the State Board of Education. Buckle up.

This article was posted in these categories: evolution, science, Science adoption (2011), science and religion. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a Comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


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4 Comments

  1. Posted July 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Hmph. Well-played, Texas “Freedom” Network. Has it ever occurred to you that Freedom includes Freedom From Facts?!

  2. Charles
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    I cannot wait to see what science and social studies textbooks the far right members of the Texas SBOE will substitute at the last minute (all by themselves) to replace all of the extremely inadequate textbooks advocated by the TEA, its curriculum/subject matter experts, and the textbook publishers. Perhaps this one will show up:

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0055/0055_01.asp

  3. Doc Bill
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I say why are we pussy-footing around this! Just adopt “Of Pandas and People” and get on with it. Throw out the history books and bring in David Barton. Soak the students in enough BS that they don’t even smell the stink. Who needs science when we can pray for rain?

    The howl will come some years down the road when these little Texan BS-kickers start flunking out of college because they are bug ignorant. However, look on the bright side. We’ll have a great workforce to take our orders at the drive-thru where they don’t need no stinkin’ Darwin, or algebra or fancy history.

    And, here’s a tip: buy stock in Fox News! Assuming they don’t all end up in jail, that’s going to be worth a pretty penny.

  4. Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    YES – STEMscopes made this cut. We used TAKScopes last year as part of a grant that our 5th grade science was part of. STEMscopes is updated to the SSTAR requirements. It is fantastic. The lessons are based on the 5E model. About 3/5 of every unit is hands on science. Unlike some programs the “hands on” is real science, not cut and paste these pictures to make a graphic of the water cycle. In our 1st unit my 2nd graders will design a habitat for our anole, experimenting with plants, and design an experiment to find out what food a beetle eats.

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