Texas adopted new science standards for K-12 public schools in 2009, but the state did not have enough funds to purchase new science textbooks that covered all the information that students would be responsible to know.
“So, the board has issued something that it has never done before, which is a call for supplemental materials,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, who has served on the State Board of Education since 1998. He said in a recent interview that the materials have to be submitted electronically. So far, about a hundred publishers have filed intent to produce materials for consideration.
The supplements will have to address issues that the current high school biology books, which were adopted over a decade ago, lack. For instance, the current books do not address “scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record” or “scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell,” which the standards now require students to “analyze and evaluate.”1
“That’s very significant because that includes some of the challenging ones we have for evolution,” McLeroy said.
In both of the standards mentioned above, there are no evolutionary explanations. And this is important for students to know, especially considering the rapid pace of current research and discovery. A limited evolution-only perspective would hinder them, especially those students who would seek to pursue science in college and beyond.
While evolution-only proponents lamented the adoption of the new standards last year,2 pro-science and academic freedom advocates saw them as an opportunity for students to really “analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking.”1
“I’m super-excited about [the new standards],” McLeroy said. “And all we need is one student in a biology classroom to ask, ‘Could you explain how evolution explains this or that?’ [Evolution] has no explanations.”
They may not have scientific explanations on their side, but evolutionists have political and other tactics. They recently applauded when neighboring Louisiana voted to approve the adoption of new science textbooks that were in the queue before the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act.
The new textbooks, which retired Louisiana State University professor Dr. Charles H. Voss, Jr., said were filled with “untruths and half-truths,”3 received only one vote of rejection in committee. Supplementing materials will be up to the decision of Louisiana’s individual school districts.
No doubt, special interest groups will weigh in on Texas’ decision. The supplemental materials for consideration must be submitted by February 25, 2011, after which review panels will evaluate them to see if they meet the new standards. McLeroy said the public should also have access to the materials in March. The board will then choose which supplements to adopt at the April 13-15, 2011, board meeting.
- Science TEKS Transition Analysis Resources, Grades K-12. Texas Education Agency. Posted on tea.state.tx.us, accessed December 15, 2010.
- Dao, C. Evolutionists, Atheists Admit Defeat in Texas. ICR News. Posted on icr.org April 3, 2009, accessed December 15, 2010.
- Dao, C. Louisiana to Vote on Science Textbooks. ICR News. Posted on icr.org November 29, 2010, accessed December 15, 2010.
Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.