Monday, March 23, 2009

Texas: More than a Century Later, the Debate Continues

One hundred and fifty years after the first publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, the creationism vs. evolution debate persists. This morning’s Wall Street Journal reported that the Texas Board of Education is set to vote on new science curriculum this week. The proposed changes would prompt educators to raise doubts about evolution, opening the door for teaching creationism in the classroom.

This has been an ongoing debate in Texas for years and has come to the forefront again as advocacy groups from both sides of the platform seek to promote their viewpoints. The National Center for Science in Education in California advocates for preserving evolution as part of public school science curriculum. The NCSE has been tracking the developments in Texas and provides updates and opportunities to take action here.

The curriculum change would have widespread significance. In January, the NYTimes reported that when the final vote occurs in March, “[w]hatever the 15-member board decides then will have consequences far beyond Texas, since the state is one of the largest buyers of textbooks in the nation. The new standards will be in place for the next decade, starting in 2010, and will influence the writing of the next generation of biology texts...”

Not only would the new curriculum contribute to a basic lack of scientific knowledge, but it could also negatively affect Texas’s economy. The NYTimes reported that “[b]usiness leaders, meanwhile, said Texas would have trouble attracting highly educated workers and their families if the state’s science programs were seen as a laughingstock among biologists.”

Contact information for the Texas Association of School Boards can be found here. Let them know where you stand on the upcoming vote.

1 comment:

  1. It's unfortunate that this vote is taking place at all. But, that's the beauty of science, that it can always be tested. Furthermore everyone has the right to an opinion. Why not leave it open to interpretation? This debate won't be settled here, or probably ever. Beyond the WSJ it might be interesting to find out what some more conservative papers have to say about the vote.