Friday, January 23, 2009

Board Votes Against "Weaknesses" Language

Pop the corks. The Texas State Board of Education voted against the inclusion of the "strengths and weaknesses" language in the Earth and Space Science Standards. As the article in the Dallas Morning News reports:

In a major defeat for social conservatives, a sharply divided State Board of Education voted Thursday to abandon a longtime state requirement that high school science teachers cover what some critics consider to be "weaknesses" in the theory of evolution.

Under the science curriculum standards recommended by a panel of science educators and tentatively adopted by the board, biology teachers and biology textbooks would no longer have to cover the "strengths and weaknesses" of Charles Darwin's theory that man evolved from lower forms of life.

Somewhat awkwardly put, but that is gist of it. There was one wrinkle, however:

Evolution critics did score a minor victory, as the board agreed to an amendment that calls for students to discuss the "sufficiency or insufficiency" of Darwin's tenet that living things have a common ancestry.

That change was proposed by board chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, who also supported the defeated strengths-and-weaknesses requirement.

As I have noted before, it is difficult to understand how someone like McLeroy can become the head of the board, since he evidently knows so little about evolution and biology in general.

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