Monday, May 08, 2017


This is a follow-up post to another one on March 21.  Hot on the heels of the Texas State Board of Education striking language in the state science standards that would require teachers to “evaluate” scientific theories as they teach them, comes another bill that is an attempt to allow teachers to do exactly that. The Texas Observer has this to say:
Representative Valoree Swanson, R-Spring [natch!], is making a case for why her bill protecting the “academic freedom” of public school teachers wouldn’t amount to an unconstitutional teaching of religion in classrooms.

House Bill 1485 would “free our teachers to where they don’t live in fear of frivolous accusations” and give teachers the ability to criticize scientific theories, she told members of the House Public Education Committee Tuesday evening. Among the theories that teachers would be able to question in elementary, middle school and high school classrooms? Climate change.
Of course she doesn't stop at climate change:
But under Swanson’s bill, public schools are encouraged to create an environment where students can consider “differences of opinion about scientific subjects” and “assist” teachers in teaching subjects that may cause controversy. The bill lists climate change, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life and human cloning as examples of such controversial subjects.

The bill also prohibits school administrators and the State Board of Education from blocking teachers who are helping students “understand, analyze, critique and review” the “scientific strengths and weaknesses” of science subjects.
How is that climate change, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life and human cloning are always the “examples?”  How do you create this kind of environment with “differences of opinion about scientific subjects” without evaluating them?   My experience is that most high school teachers are not equipped to evaluate these subjects because they do not work in these fields.  That is why the language to do so was stripped from the original wording.  The study of the biochemical origins of life is extremely technical, with a  considerable amount of mathematics and, as with all of these subjects, requires considerable time and education to master. 

Nothing good can come from this.  

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