The institute was created in 1970 by the late Henry M. Morris, a Dallas native known as the father of "creation science," the view that science – not just religion – indicates that a divine being created the Earth and all living things.
Patricia Nason, chairwoman of the institute's science education department, said that, despite the institute's name, students learn evolution along with creationism.
"Our students are given both sides," said Dr. Nason, who has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University. "They need to know both sides, and they can draw their own conclusion."
The institute, through its graduate school, wants to offer an online master's degree in science education.
I somehow doubt that an organization founded by Henry Morris will give evolution a fair shake. He was vehemently anti-evolution during his life. Others, however, argue that the name is what is off-putting:
A group of educators and officials from the state Coordinating Board visited the campus in November and met with faculty members. The group found that the institute offered a standard science education curriculum that would prepare them to take state licensure exams, said Glenda Barron, an associate commissioner of the board.
Dr. Barron said the program was held to the same standards that any other college would have to meet.
"The master's in science education, we see those frequently," she said. "What's different – and what's got everybody's attention – is the name of the institution."
Yes, but a cursory check of the articles emanating from that institution reveal a staunch adherence to recent earth creationism, which precludes any sort of evolutionary scenario. Maybe they can pull it off. We'll see. The principle problem that I see is that even if the board okays the training of science teachers, I doubt if any non-parochial schools will hire them.