TEA’s Ambiguous Creationism Statement

Is the Texas Education Agency (TEA) climbing out on the limb with Gov. Rick Perry? The agency’s statement regarding Gov. Perry’s  claim that creationism is taught side-by-side with evolution in science classes is a little ambiguous. And more than a little alarming.

Our science standards require students to analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations, so it is likely that other theories, such as creationism, would be discussed in class. Our schools can also offer an elective course on Biblical history and it is likely that creationism is discussed as part of that class too.

This is a clever bit of sophistry, with a bit of half-truth tacked on. Of course, if a student brings up the topic of creationism in science class, a teacher can address it. That is true of any topic in any class. But that does not speak to the matter at hand — whether science classes can include instruction on creationism or any other religious idea as a viable scientific theory alongside evolution. That is out of bounds in science classrooms and is not a part of the Texas science curriculum. And the reference to discussing creationism in Bible history courses is another evasion. While it is true that creationism does commonly make an appearance in Bible courses — as TFNEF’s own research definitively documents — that does not mean this information is appropriate. Or constitutional. Promoting one religion (or one set of religious beliefs about the origin of life) is just as problematic in a Bible class as in a science class.

At this point, TEA and Perry seem to be the only ones out on that limb. As we made very clear in our blog, teaching creationism alongside evolution is not allowed under the state standards or under the U.S. Constitution. And in a story published late last week, PolitiFact Texas backed us up in a thorough takedown of Gov. Perry’s assertion.

Even people who would like to see creationism in schools, like the evolution-deniers at the Discovery Institute, agreed that Gov. Perry got it wrong.

As Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle points out, TEA’s statement is “eerily similar” to one she received from a governor’s office spokesperson. And a call to TEA to clarify the statement wasn’t much help, leading Falkenberg to write:

There you have it, science teachers of Texas. On the subject of teaching creationism in class, the education department won’t say it’s wrong, and the governor thinks you’re already doing it.

We’ll reiterate what we said last week. Offering a sort of wink-and-a-nod to teachers that creationism is allowed as science in public schools — as Gov. Perry did last week — or vacillating on the issue as TEA did thereafter, irresponsibly erodes confidence in Texas education system and could open up the state’s school districts to potential lawsuits.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted August 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I am so disgusted with the way things are going in this country that I have made up my mind to not even bother voting next year; I do not want to be responsible for any of the individuals who are making a mockery out of the presidential election.

    Although I have supported Obama in the past, he has been losing me bit by bit; my back broke when he told the Independent State of Israel to APOLOGIZE to Turkey for the deaths about a ship load of terrorists who were attempting to block an internationally recognized blockade of the Gaza strip. TURKEY should beg Israel’s forgiveness for permitting that boat to leave its shores when they KNEW that it was filled with terrorists (NOT MILITANTS as the cowardly media calls them) with all kinds of weapons. When the IDF boarded, they were greeted with pipes, knives, etc. They had a legal right to board the ship and the injuries suffered by IDF personnel was proof positive that the ship was not carrying “humanitarian” aid. Gaza doesn’t NEED aid; it needs a political change which is not going to happen.

    Idiot Obama wants Israel to cede MORE territory to the Arabs. That ain’t going to happen, folks. What the Arabs want is the equivalent of taking over Washington, D.C. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish faith; it is not so with the Islamic faith, it is not even mentioned in their “holy” book.

    Getting back to what is happening in this country…the Grand Obstructionist Party is filled with TeaPubliCANTS. It has become a party by the wealthy and for the wealthy. The grand delusion that this is a country by the people and for the people HAS perished from the earth. This is not the country into which I was born. This is not the kind of government into which I was born. America, I do not recognize you. When did the presidential elections become a four-year event? If I had my druthers, there would be a six-week period of time in which pols could announce for the office and then we would go directly to a convention instead of these idiotic months of lying and pointing sticks.

    Some “candidates” such as Bachman and Perry think that this country was established as a Christian Country. If that was so, which it is not, then the founders should have written that into the Constitution. Instead they did something NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS DONE WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ISRAEL: They declared FREEDOM OF AND FROM RELIGION.

    Even more disturbing is the FACT that both Bachman and Perry are devout members of what is called Dominionism. The goal of the Dominionists is to overturn the Constitution of the United States and replace it with a kind of theocracy that would base its laws on Torah and make Christianity THE ONLY RECOGNIZED religion in the country. Any person refusing to convert THEIR BRAND OF CHRISTIANITY WOULD BE PUT TO DEATH.

    Hopefully, enough of you know I am not a nut (well, a little bit) so go look up what Dominionists want. They will not be able to do that of course, but just the fact that if given the chance, they would destroy this country’s Constitution is reason enough not to even consider them. Romney? That unspeakable (bleep) has the gall to try to convince people that he’s just one of them. Yeah, he said that he is unemployed. Each of us should be as unemployed as he is with the millions he has.

    In this incredible financial mess that the former GOPresident bought into being by his reckless spending and useless wars, ROMNEY WANTS TO DESTROY HIS CURRENT CALIFORNIA “Summer Home” and erect an 11,000 SF palace in its place. Talk about spitting in the eyes of most Americans! What an ass.

    At this moment, there is nobody worth voting for. I’ll make the prediction that the people have finally had it with the TeaPubliCANTS and Obama will win a second term because all that the TeaPubliCANT Parties have to offer is worse than what we have now.

    May God help us regroup and remember what our troops have done to protect our freedoms. I feel terrible about not wanting to vote next year because that is one of the freedoms which they have won for us time after time. I’m also a veteran; I hope our dead and wounded will forgive me for giving up for ONE election my franchise.

  2. derbrat
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Really Gordon? I think you’re pulling a Perry. Sort of like his claim of having done such a great job of creating jobs.

  3. Posted August 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone really jousted with a windmill? Giants are a pushover.

  4. JamesBreck
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    David, perhaps you’ve noticed how Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, Jim Demint and the rest of the Tea Party ideologues bristle at the idea of closing tax loopholes. I don’t much about these loopholes save one, and this I know because my cousin works on Wall Street. His annual compensation is $1.6 million. It is a pre-set amount that includes no peformance based pay -either the performance of the group he runs or the company. Now his pay is a $200k salary and a $1.4 million bonus. Last December the bonus money for this year was placed in an internal pool. He was then issued what is the equalivent of preferred shares of stock. This year he is paid $50k each quarter (25% of his salary) and the company also loans him $350k every quarter (25% of his bonus.) It is a low interest loan, right around 1%. Then this December he will cash in his preferred stock for $1.4 million and pay off his loan and the little bit of interest. Why is done in this manner? Because he holds that “preferred stock” exactly 1 year at which time it qualifies as a long term capital gain. So the result is that his $200k salary is taxed at a federal rate of 35% but his bonus, the bulk of his compensation, is taxed at just 15%. In the end he ends up paying just 17 1/2% federal income tax. But it not just my cousin, it’s everyone in his firm that has reached a certain position/salary in the company, and I assume all the Wall Street firms do this. If not they would not be competitive.

    I suppose this begets the question of how hefty the bribes, err campaign contributions, are to members of Congress to get such wonderful tax treatment. Probably substantial.

  5. Slade Foster
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Does the Governor’s office control the purse strings or have some other authority over the TEA? Seems likely so.
    This is merely pandering to the “boss”, and whoever wrote it is very likely ashamed, but at least safely employed.

  6. David
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Paucity of reality indeed.

    Here’s the deal. The phony economic theory that has dominated the last 30 years, and the Wall Street superwealthy that has thrived on it, is a massive tumor sucking the life out of the American middle class.
    At the same time, they’ve effectively brainwashed the middle class into thinking the poor are responsible for draining them.
    In reality, the society needs a robust, growing middle class. That gives the poor an opportunity for upward mobility. As poor people are able to climb out of poverty, it takes a strain off the social services, which lightens the load of government and lessens the need for more taxes.
    In fact, Wall Street has redistributed America’s wealth to the super wealthy. This is a threat to national security. Capitalism under these conditions is not sustainable. There are a few common sense measures we can take as a society to fix this problem.
    Which brings us back to education, which is where this all started. The responsible adults in the society have to stand up to the propagators of hooey. These people are a threat to our nation and to civilization. We must demand that the TEA stand strong against hooey.

  7. derbrat
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    In a real way Perry is correct that both are taught in Texas (and many other places). However, it is not an accepted practice according to the science standards. For the past few years the SBOE actions have softened the potential of the standards to have an impact on teachers — primarily by making it possible for them to introduce creationist/ID ideas with much less fear of getting in trouble for violating the standards. [Not that this would be likely anywhere in the state; sort of like the chance of Sharia law being imposed.]

    I have long maintained that the real battle beyond the K-12 classrooms is in the arena of teacher certification standards and qualifications. So, point me at the windmills, after all they might be giants.

  8. Posted August 23, 2011 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    What connections are there between Creationism and the elimination of the “Nanny” state? Assuming a connection between Creationism and the Tea Party, and further connections with the assertion that the poorer fifty percent of the American public isn’t poor enough, being propped up by Nannyism, who amongst the richer fifty percent feels threatened by the poorer fifty percent (that which earns 2.6 percent of the income?

    While it is conventional to think that the poorer the person is, the more likely they will believe in Creationism, it seems that the richer the person is, the greater the interest in keeping the poor poorer. There seems to be a paucity of reality in these Tea Party Creationist economic determinist idiocies.

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